Getting through the length of this post may take as much effort as it took me to climb the mountain I’m about to tell you about. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done and the most physically challenging thing, so I cannot help but write in detail about it. I summited a 5530m mountain; that’s 18,140ft. I say physically challenging, but I’d have to say it was equal parts emotionally, mentally, spiritually and culturally challenging and fulfilling as well.
As luck would have it, I did find a hiking partner this time around and we met up in Huaraz, Peru, the trekking hub of the Cordillera Blanca. It is a common training ground for the Himalayas due to the number of 6000+m peaks and technical climbs in the area. Relief! I have someone to go out adventuring with me again!
The town of Huaraz itself is just barely over 10,000ft, which helps with acclimatizing. We also did a 5 day trip, the popular Santa Cruz trek, as a warm-up. It took us up and over a monster pass and down a valley, green all around us and then the white peaks towering over us.
Apparently Paramount Pictures was as impressed as we were; they picked this peak out of the garden of stunners to be featured at the beginning of their films. (photo below)
So conquering Mount Ishinca started with a conversation that my friend had with a German mountaineer who blessed our mountaineering experience levels as suitable for this adventure. I felt like such a bad ass before we even left town, such was the flavor of prep conversations. We were actually using the words ‘crevasse’ and ‘col’ in sentences referring to our trek, words I’d previously read or heard in the likes of Everest documentaries. Not to mention that every time you sign into a national park is a chance to be who you want to be, and we signed in as “aventurero” and “escritora” respectively. (or adventurer and writer)