Steep climbs on short rations

We couldn’t leave Huancavelica without one more visit to the cake shop for a second breakfast. Then up the road for a steep climb up a side valley to yet another scenic pass, complete with cowboy who left town about the same time as us and passed us near the summit. The other side had stunning outcrops and lakes in the upper basins and then as the road steepened we had a feeling we were descending into the bowels of the earth. Suddenly we were bouncing down a steep rough road between vertical walls of shades of orange and black, happy we weren’t going the other direction.

At a town called Jerusalen we stopped for refreshments and got dragged in and sat down for a friendly quizzing, and plied with treats from the shelves from the family who ran the store. Warm fuzzies! At the next town we stayed in the one and only hospedaje in our smallest room yet. The next night, after another pass, we stayed in the town of Acobambillo which sat at the foot of a striking striped mountain and had a clear mountain river running through it. We were hosted in the municipal offices on a couple of mattresses.

Before leaving town we stocked up on 2 days food, thinking we could get thru to Laraos in that time frame, but the days were bigger than we were, and the camping opportunities too nice, so we struggled up our toughest pass to date on a shared packet of 2 minute noodles, and other scratchings the night before, plus not a lot of breakfast. As well as the toughest it was the most scenic, with lake after beautiful lake set in an alpine environment. It was another long bumpy descent to lower altitudes and the town of Laraos where we gate crashed a community ‘soup kitchen’ thinking it was street stalls – and they wouldn’t take a donation when we realised the situation – more warm fuzzies!

Huancavelica – Vinas – Acobambilla – lake camp near Turpo – camp near estancia – Laraos

Approaching Abra Llamaorgo


Our horseman in pursuit


Lakes , coloured hills, on the other side of the pass


Loop de loops on the descent


Descending into the bowels..


From the rounded pampas to the inverted gorges


A colourful descent


Emerging from the gorge


And our little 1 bed room in Vinas


The colourful descent to Acobambilla


Approaching Acobambilla


We were careful not to leave crumbs on the office desk in the municipal offices where we were kindly put up for free.


Beautiful tops – payback for the consistantly steep climb out of Acobambillo – average grade of 8.7% for 650m – it’s saving grace was the smooth surface


We didn’t have any vehicles on our traverse this day

This lake was too nice not to camp at


It satisfied the criteria of : water, flat, Ok afternoon sun, going to get early morning sun


Early morning views from the tent door


Dramatic rock sweep


Jo was having a bad hair day so we decided to camp well short of our intended destination and go for a short ration day over the pass, the next day


Being lazy meant we had clear weather for the climb to the Punta Pumacocha (4990)


One of the less scary canines on our journey


This family live up here (4500m) all year round with their large flock of llama. The older children are in the nearest city (5hrs away) being schooled.


The start of the climb.. We mistakenly thought we could see the high point


Gorgeous views back, note bikes thrown on the ground- the more tired we get the lazier we are about using our click stands.


Our road deteriorates and steepens


But another gorgeous lake..


Approaching the pass (4990m) after a tough push up loose gravel for the last km or so. Feeling the lack of oxygen and food!


But it is all worth it -and the views down the other side are amazing, not to mention the crazy road cut into the scree..


Enjoying the start of the descent


One can’t help but admire the audacity of chiselling this track out of scree


The surface always looks better from above, no time to enjoy the view


Except for the photographer


Looking back at this unlikely pass, notch left of rocky peak


Funky rock #1


Funky rock #2


Granite abounds in this valley


The greener pastures as we descend


Alan enjoys his soup kitchen fare (soup, trout and tatties), with his 2 new best friends, in Laraos


The amazing terraces below Laraos