This is probably a reasonable time to point out the obvious, which is that I’ve decided against trying to pick just one photograph to represent each event or activity that we do. This isn’t to say care hasn’t been taken in picking the photographs out, but this particular hike seems to have the most of any so far.
As if Laguna 69 wasn’t hard enough, we managed to find an even more challenging walk for ourselves.This time, it didn’t involve a three hour drive, just a taxi for four of us from the hostel along yet another dirt track.
We started out as four, but one, Timo, was out to check his fitness for a multi-day hike, so he was off. That left Andy, Sonia, and I to continue onwards at our own, leisurely pace. Once again though, we face the “fun” of walking at altitude, and had to take regular stops on the way up.
We’d been told about a scramble that had to be done with the help of cables that were bolted into the mountain, and after we did a short scramble, we thought that we’d mastered this obstacle. After much more hiking though, we came across what was really being talked about; roughly 100m of scrambling, with and without cables, to reach the next path towards Lake Churup. At this point, only Sonia and I decided to venture onwards, leaving Andy to take pictures of us from afar. The scramble was definitely the most challenging thing I’ve done so far since leaving the UK given that I’m reasonably scared of hitting the ground, so heights don’t always agree with me.
We found yet more hiking the other side of the scramble, and wondered if the lake would ever appear on the horizon. When it did, the waters of Lake Churup weren’t strikingly blue like those of Laguna 69, but the reward came from the challenge of getting there.
How we did it
Four of us shared a taxi from our bed and breakfast in Palmira to the start of walk. Although we’d planned to get a taxi all the way to Pitec, we happened to drive right past the start of the walk and jumped out there. The taxi cost PEN 70 between the four of us. The walk to Lake Churup includes going in to the national park, which is PEN 10 to enter on a day pass, but we still had our 21 day pass which cost PEN 65. There are collectivos up to Pitec, but they go very early in the morning. Most of the collectivos go as far as Llupa which isn’t as far up the mountain. As it was, another person from our hostel got a collectivo to Llupa, and then all the passengers convinced the driver to carry on to Pitek, so we all started the walk at the same place in the end.
As per the first walk we did to Wilcacocha, we used the maps.me app to help navigate the hike up to the lake. The app is also great for helping to judge how far you’ve gone, and how far you’ve got to go, although it doesn’t give an indication of how steep a walk or climb might be.
To get back, we’d initially planned to walk back down as far as Llupa and get a collectivo from there. Thankfully, when we got to the end of the path that we’d started on, there was a collectivo that was just waiting to see how many passengers it could pick up. We agreed a price of PEN 50 for the three of us, although very oddly other passengers had paid PEN 50 each! Although we’d asked the driver if he’d go all the way back to Palmira which he agreed to, he actually only went as far as Huaraz and we ended up getting a taxi all the way back.