In order to do so we returned to Huaraz for two nights to investigate our climbing options. After some research on the popular alpine web page Summit Post, we figured that it was easy enough to climb Nevado Pisco without a guide despite everyone telling us we needed one. At 5700m the popular Pisco wasn't really what we were looking for though, we wanted remote and over the yet to be conquered 6000m. So we hit the tour agencies for information about climbing the 6034m Tocllaraju. The first place offered us a four day all inclusive package for $1400us which is more then we usually spend in three weeks! It may have included a cook and donkeys but we didn't really need that. After more recommendations we went to Andean kingdom who weren't particularly interested but did say that we could defiantly climb Pisco without a guide. In our last attempt we headed to the Casa de Guias (house of the guides), here we met a experienced mountain guide called Percy. He had been up Tocllaraju only the day before so knew the conditions well, it all sounded good until he started outlaying the price totalling $940us. It was $150 per day for his guiding services over four days. $30 for two donkeys and $30 for the donkey driver to supply a round trip. $30 for the cook and $10 per day per person for food ($40 per day $160 total for everybodies food). Even this was a reduced price having opted out of the porter, a third donkey, tables, chairs and mess tent. He had us hooked that we really needed the donkeys and cook even though we had managed just fine without them on pervious climbs so we agreed on the price and left to get some cash. It was while back at the hostel after having some time to think, compounded with the state of our bank balance that we realised there was no way we could afford this climb. Besides we are kiwis we don't need all the fancy stuff like cooks we are quite capable of cooking for ourselves and carrying our own packs. So we told Percy it was too expensive then did some more research on climbing Nevado Pisco before hitting the road the following morning towards Yungay and the entrance to Huascaran National Park.
On the way to Yungay we stopped off at the Chancos hot pools. We had been told that they had special natural saunas carved into the hot dripping rock face. While they did indeed have these saunas it was very much a local affair. Still we got amongst it and after our 46 degree sauna and changing room was hosed out from the previous users we were aloud in for our 20 minutes. We got changed eyeing the door to the dark stifling sauna with some apprehension, but once inside it was a glorious if a somewhat sweaty experience that we would absolutely recommend. We then took freezing showers to cool down and red faced headed back to the main road.
Next stop Kuelp ruins.
Rochelle & Will