The KH Travels series continues with our VP, Media Director, Tracy Broderick:
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Peru? Most likely, you’d say Machu Picchu, which is an amazing choice for any bucket list. But if you want to see spectacular mountains and glaciers, immerse yourself in authentic Peruvian culture and avoid the massive crowds flocking to Cusco, you may want to consider visiting the Cordillera Blanca in northern Peru.
In June, our family took an unforgettable trip to the city of Huaraz (population 120,000), which sits at the base of the Cordillera Blanca in the western Andes. The Cordillera Blanca is home to 33 peaks over 5500 meters (18,040 feet), including Huascarán which at 22,205 feet is the highest peak in Peru and the highest point in the Earth’s tropics. (What that means is eucalyptus and palm trees grow above 14,000 feet!)
Huaraz is a city where old meets new. These pictures show the colorful market and the people who live and work in Huaraz.
The central market in Huaraz
A favorite national dish – cuy (guinea pig). Poor fellas.
This area of the Andes is a climber’s mecca. My husband Michael and son Brendan (age 20) summited several peaks approaching 20,000 feet and spent two weeks in the wilderness with their guide Nacho, cook Pablo and burroteer Simone (and his burros).
Summiting early with headlamps
Michael and Brendan on the ascent
View from the summit of Artesanraju (19,767 ft)
If you are not into adrenaline rushes and roughing it, there are more mellow alternatives. My daughter Erin (age 16) and I opted for day-hikes (sans ropes and ice axes) accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, Chalex, who never broke a sweat no matter how steep the trail was and mercifully never laughed at our incorrect Spanish verb conjugations. Instead of tents, we stayed in quaint and comfortable B&Bs.
Here are some highlights from our adventures. These were the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen.
Erin on the glacier, Huandoy Mountain
Erin and Chalex at Laguna 69 (elevation 15,000 ft) in Huascaran National Park
Llanganuco Lodge below Huascaran
Breakfast at Llanganuco Lodge with our British friends
Tracy Broderick, VP, Media Director