La Cordillera Blanca

What?! Cordillera — range. Blanca — white. Well, that´s for sure.

This mountain range is why I´m in Peru. Specifically, why I´m in Huaraz. Have I mentioned that Huaraz is situated at 10,000′. Talkin’ bout it.

Extending almost 180kms from north to south and largely included within the Huascaran National Park, the Cordillera Blanca has a total of 663 glaciers (29 of them at 6,000meters or higher) and includes Huascaran (6,768meters), the highest peak in the Peruvian Andes and Alpamayo, considered by many to be the most beautiful mountain in the world. Its 269 lakes and 41 rivers are an important hydrological resource and provide water to the basins of the Santa, Pativilca, and Marañon rivers.

Well, yesterday and today I´ve been gearing up for the mountains. By that I mean exploring Huaraz (so as to know the layout of town and where the good, reasonably priced places are to re-stock food and fuel between trips), drinking hella h20, chatting up the local guides about mountain and route specifics, and breathing deeply.

Thunder storms roll in each day at about 2pm and the rain pours until about 5pm or so. Then the evening is clear. The nights, same thing. There is weather, and by the morning there is still cloud cover, but it’s an excellent time to be out and about. The whole dang town and all of the people are alive, talking, honking, and doing their thing by 5:30am….errrryday.

The funny for the day: my mispronunciation of ‘dollars’.

setting: Talking about tent prices with the hostel mountain guides. Why? A guy at the hostel rented a tent. It was too big to fit in his pack, so he carried it. He was climbing over a tree on a ridge, so he set the tent down. The wind blew…and the tent proceeded to roll down into the quebrada (super steep canyon).

Julie, esta carpa de The North Face. ¿Cuanto cuesta en los Estados Unidos? –Esteban

Hmm, (looking at the internet posted price in Soles…Peruvian currency). Necesito a cambiar a dolores. Hmmm, por eso, en dolores el precio es como 350 dolores. (I need to change to ‘dollars’. Therefore, in ‘dollars’ the price is like 350 ‘dollars’) –me

…smiles and laughter… –esteban and julio

¿Como? El precio de la carpa es 350 dolores. ¿Que es divertido? (What? The price of the tent is 350 ‘dollars’. What’s so funny?) –me

Julie. Dolores no es dolares. Dolores is pains. 350 pains? Hahaha, It’s funny, because the price is so high it hurts to even think about spending that much! — Esteban

….let the laughter ensue…..

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