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Places above 5000m are not meant for mankind but for age man has tried to see where his limits are and boldly go where no man has gone before. Chachani was our limit ! First we planned to summit the 6200 high Amparo where they found the frozen princess Juanita but it would take too long to get to the foot of the mountain from Arequipa. Chachani was perfect and it would be a challenge for the beast to get to basecamp at 5000 m. But he reached it without blood or tears, or should I say oil or smoke. For us on the other hand, it wasn’t all so easy. The first day after arriving at basecamp with the car we went up another 300 m to make camp at the 1º camp. We would leave at 4. Am. But from the 9 hours sleep we slept perhaps 1 hour all together, you would fall asleep but only to wake up 5 minutes later gasping for air, and big Al could probably use one of these small tents for him alone. When the alarm sounded at 4.am none of us was planning to move one muscle so we stayed tucked in until 6 am, with a small headache we left, crossing the col at 5800 m, then turning around a false summit though the snow and ascending 2 very steep slopes until the summit. At 10h48 we made it to the summit exhausted but satisfied that we made it for the first time in our lives higher than 6000m.
The view was spectacular with the misty and Amparo in the background. We didn’t stay very long on the summit due to the lack of oxygen and a terrible smell of sulfur. As they always say be careful on the way back, that’s where most of the accidents happen. “They” are right, you shouldn’t underestimate the return. As the snow had melted during our ascent it became harder to get moving and the distances looked much larger than before, we got more and more exhausted and a terrible headache came crawling up. At last we reached the first camp at 14h00. The wind was coming up the valley at 11km/h perfect to fly down, why else would I have brought up my glider to the 1º camp, but it didn’t last 5 minutes and everything changed completely. So the was nothing left then descent to the car. After 15 hours of sleep we were more or less back in shape to start the return trip.
But all the adventure wasn’t quit over, after a very quick soaring flight we got stuck in the sand on a immense desolate beach. It took as an hour to get out; we couldn’t really blame the car because its tires are bolder than Alan Kojak. Continuing our quest for new places to fly we spend the night in Atequipa and when parking next to the footballfield we met Andrés the local governor who explained us than 10 years ago somebody flew with a delta-wing form one of their green hills. The next morning we met the local turistagent Julietta who is making a real effort to put her town on the turistmap. With here we went up the hill where each year the town celebrats their local saint and had a pretty good flight. Because of the intensity of the wind it is rather a place for deltawings then gliders but if you start early in the morning you can have a nice soaring flight. ( www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/303838 )
For more info of the place www.kusillaqtatour.com From there we went direction Paracas had a last beers and flight with Alan before him leaving towards Ecuador.
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