getting there
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Boulder to Lima to Huaraz to Chiquian to Cordillera Huayhuash
"Hey did anyone pack a shock pump?"
Joey asked as we pulled up to the Denver International Airport.
I woke up to the lights being turned on, window shades opening and the plane rattling down toward Lima. Everything was now in Spanish. The crew hurried through the cabin, passing out customs forms. Joey was behind me arguing with a flight attendant after trying to take a time lapse with a GoPro stuck to the window.
That night we cooked in the kitchen, played cards and drank beer with Hisao Morales and swapped climbing stories.It was awesome to learn how he started his guiding company and to learn about true mountaineering. We had a 4am bus ride to Chiquian the next morning. Things were starting to get real.
We flew down stone stairs as kids shot fireworks overhead, then cruised down the miles of switchbacks into the valley. We covered some serious distance on dirt roads with huge ridges overhead, then climbed endless switchbacks to Llamac. This was the smallest and poorest village I’d ever seen, but the people were so cheerful. A family in the square asked us where our donkeys were and were blown away that we were going into the Huayhuash self-supported.
"At the base of Llamac there were three massive switchbacks that I was too exhausted to ride. I walked alone for what seemed like an hour and finally met Joey and Sam at the top of the dam."
A few kids in the village ran out to see our bikes and kick soccer balls at us. Joey even convinced one to ride on his handlebars.
And just like that, we were off. Another day and a half of pedaling stood between us and the trailhead.
The afternoon rain rolled in like clockwork as we climbed up a deep canyon beside a raging river. The fun was starting to fade.
Hisao told us to sleep at the soccer field in a tiny mining village if we didn’t reach the trailhead—which we definitely weren’t going to reach.There was a shack beside the field with Tasmania scribbled on the side. No doors or windows and a floor full of cow shit. At least it offered shelter from the rain. We had hot drinks, couscous, cheese and butter, then passed out harder than ever