Archive for July 2007

The worst book in the World… Ever

Each trip I managed to end up getting forced, blackmailed or otherwise tricked into reading something truely terrible. Usually its a panic buy before a long flight or the only English language book in an otherwise empy alpine hut. Previous winners of this prestigious title have included such notables as Dean Kootz, John Grisham and Ayn Rand.

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Dopers really do suck

Dopers Suck, really.

So apparently I simply wasn´t doing enough drugs. And to think I was actually sorry to be missing this year´s Tour De France before I left home. A travesty of a farce of a sham. Time to find another sport to follow where half the contestants get caught cheating and it starts to feel like the other half just haven´t got caught yet.

Pity really as cycling is fun to do and quite a lot of fun to watch.

Loosing weight

Loosing weight the ¨easy¨ way. 1 – Get something akin to flu. 2 – Pick up a stomach infection. Try climbing at altitude – unsuccessfully – while still dealing with said illnesses. Live on a diet of cytomax and two PowerBars a day for a couple of days to try and shift 2 while still dealing with 1. Sleep a lot. Become deeply distrustful of any food that isn´t shrinkwrapped and made entirely of chemicals.

Realize that you´re probably not going to summit anything but Pisco Oeste – which doesn´t count as ¨climbing¨- this trip. Try not to sulk too much and console yourself that at least the mythical goal of better back defintion has been partially achieved and none of your clothes will fit for several months.

¨Good times, bad times¨

So it´s offical… Having managed to get pretty well acclimatized and get up Pisco with no real problems I´ve managed to get sick.

Usually this means some sort of stomach ïssue¨and days spent on the can, chickenus eruptus to give it the full medical name. In my case I´ve opted for the slightly less usual cold or flu option. A few days ago Robert and I went to Ishinca basecamp try Urus Este (around 5400m). This is an easy trekking climb of which I managed the first 300m before heading back to the tent as it felt like my chest would collapse. Ended up lying in the tent for the rest of the day and then heading down early – even downhill was hard work.

We´re now back in Huaraz and I´m nursing a nasty cough among other things. Hopefully I can shake this off and head out before the weekend. I foresee several days of sitting around watching pirate DVDs and trying to recover ahead of me.

Fore what it´s worth Ishinca is not a very nice place. Far too many donkeys, cows, horses and people and more to the point the shit that inevitably comes with them to call the place clean. There´s one stream running through the place which pretty much drains all of the above along with people washing in it.

We packed out a load of trash as loads of campers dump their litter rather than packing it out. There´s no excuse for this as pretty much everyone uses donkeys to carry their stuff in and out. I have a feeling if you stay there long enough you´d get really sick. All in all a bad scene that can only get uglier with time. Makes me long for Da Wadd.


Taxi to Huaraz. Stereo MCs on the radio. Toyota cars everywhere. Heavy metal rock festivals on Huaraz. Gringo hangouts ripped straight out of Boulder and Berkeley. Shaved ice stands on the street. Internet (private cabinas) on every street. Cell phones for everyone. Collectivos crammed to the brim on dusty roads.

Gold and Uranium mines in the hills. Geologists working for penny stock mining firms from Vancouver. Guarded Las Vegas style enclaves for the ex-pats. Mud brick huts with street addresses. Bars selling ¨British¨beer.

Everything is horribly connected – whether you like it or not – deal with it. Thankfully connectivity hasn´t led to homogeneity just yet.

Dopers Suck

Acetazolamide (Diamox) as a prophylactic for acute mountain sickness. Asprin to help thin the blood. Airborne to try and shake off colds. Melatonin for sleeping. Ibuprofen for the inevitable headaches.

And now I need something for a hideous cold or flu or whatever it is. ¨Dopers Suck¨ and I guess I´m one of them.

Police and thieves

Back in Huaraz and the hotel turns out to be full so we slept in our tent on their lawn last night. Not the best sleep but better than the other alternatives. We stayed up late with a bunch of other guys we bumped into from Seattle watching ¨Next¨ in the Hotel TV room. It´s that unique South American experience, the pirated movies on DVD for less than the price of a cinema matinee back home.

The weather wasn´t so good yesterday but looks like it´s going to improve today and stay that way for the next week or so. Robert and I are looking for our next objective. Still plenty to do in Huaraz today; buying more food, packing and potentially watching the Peruvian riot police and the teachers have at it.

Well, hopefully not because it wouldn´t be pretty. The teachers have some sort of rally today and town is full of police with riot gear. Hopefully everything will pass off peacefully. The college next to the hotel actually has posters with progress on the strike so hopefully it´ll be a bit easier to figure out when the next road blockages will be.

Oh yeah. I have a bit of a cold – yuck. Still goes with the territory, diesel fumes, dusty roads and thin air aren´t that great for the lungs.

Back from Pisco

Back from Pisco. Fantastic mountain with stunning views from the summit. It took us less than four hours from the moraine camp to the summit (if you´re really interested see Brad Johnson´s book). The route is very straightforward we used ski poles for almost all of it and didn´t have to rope up. The snow was brick hard and there is really only one major crevasse – which you definitely would not want to fall into.

We had perfect weather on the summit and that day there we only a few parties on the route so we had it to ourselves. Pisco is very popular so I consider myself very lucky. I hope to have some great pictures for the climbing gallery on my return.

We ended up bailing on Yanapaccha as the weather looked dicy. Looks like we were right as it rained last night at basecamp and today the mountains are shrouded in cloud. Back in Huaraz now for a couple of days and planning for what comes next. Probably head off to do another acclimatization route in the Blanca in a day or two.

Off to Pisco and some climbing

No more blogging for a few days Robert and I are off to climb Pisco Oeste (5752m) and Yanapaccha (5460m) for a bit more acclimatization before trying anything serious. Heading to the bus station in an hour or so to get the collectivo to Yangay.

Hike Club in the Andes

We hiked upto one of the lakes outside Huaraz today. 600m of ascent to a lake at 4450m. Robert and I managed it in 1.5 hours. It´s either the Diamox or the Crossfit doing the job. RHR this morning down a few beats to around 52.