Limestone Dreams

After two weeks of rather intense surfing, our fingers began to scribble lacking the contact with rougher surfaces. Before leaving for Chile, we headed first to Lima to organize ourselves, have some social activity and meet local climbers at the basecamp climbing gym.

Louis in the climbing gym in Lima

Stephan climbing in Lima

That is where we got convinced to spend some more time in Peru to visit a magic climbing spot called Yuracmayo, only (!) four hours west of Lima by bus.

The Yuracmayo climbing spot

The next day we headed to the Yerbateros bus station, to get a ride to San Mateo, a small village on the “carretera central”, big enough to have five ironmongers (none of them had any screw link (maillon rapide)), three hairdressers (only one was willing to give us our monthly shave which was, let say, not as soft as the one advertised by Gillette) and one fruit juice shop (selling fruit juice only in the morning, so that we did not get any).
Since the weather was anything else than a dry climbing weather, we decided to spend a night in a hostal in San Mateo (we were glad that there was one) and to drive the next day to Yuracmayo with the brother-in-law of a woman met at the town hall.
We awoke to a clear blue sky, packed our stuff and waited for our driver to show up. The academic quarter of an hour passed and there was still no driver in sight. Finally after half an hour we hired a taxi driver, who drove us on a bumpy route to the remote village of Yuracmayo. A thin layer of snow was covering the grounds next to the road, announcing cold and wet nights.

The hoverdam of Yuracmayo. Climbing is at the very end of the dam

The driver dropped us only 50m from the ground and the cliffs. We agreed that he would pick us up three days later.
Perfect rock awaited us, mostly overhanging, rarely touched limestone, bolted during the Peruvian Northface Rocktrip in 2008/2009.
A river was flowing by our campsite, it seemed to be the perfect spot. However (we learnt later that there was an iron mine higher up in the mountain) the water turned red before midday. We were pretty worried about our health, so we decided not to drink it and wait for it to clear up again. It started raining in the afternoon and the water was still red. We collected the water that was dropping from the walls and the tent which took us a good part of the afternoon and went to bed thirsty that night. Luckily it was the weekend and nobody was working in the mine so that the water was clear the next morning and remained clear during the following days.

We spent our time climbing, sleeping, eating,… it felt like holidays to us though after the exhausting climbs in the Cordillera Blanca.

Louis in “Pinchitos”

Louis in “Pinche Metiche”

No rest in “Pinche Metiche”

Unbelievable structures in a overhang

We climbed during the morning and rested in the afternoon since every day it started raining at 2pm… anyway we were tired because of the altitude (4300m) and the demanding routes.

Rain in the afternoon, as expected

The final jug, saved!

Saving power for the overhang

While waiting for the driver to arrive on our last day, we were imagining what would happen to his tires if he would not show up until we finally spotted him in the distance, relieved.

Pastel colored slopes of Yuracmayo

Snow geese that targeted our tent in vain, when flying in large groups through the valley

Red flowers

The local flora

Our wondergas finally empty, after Chopicalqui and Yuracmayo, lasting for 6 days including snow melting

Some more pictures can be found here.

1 Comment

Filed under Rock

One response to “Limestone Dreams

  1. Coraline

    Amazing pictures! You make me dream!!

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