Ascent to Huayna Picchu-Machu Picchu on 1988-05-21

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:G Hebert
S Deschenes
Date:Saturday, May 21, 1988
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Point Reached:Huayna Picchu - Machu Picchu
    Elevation:7874 ft / 2399 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is a very brief resume of a super trip.

This is a trip that Rose and I had been looking at for years, and for one reason or another it never got the priority it needed. Finally together with my office colleagues and very good friends, Guy Hebert and Sylvie Deschenes, we decided on a 15 day trip. The plan was to:
(a) Fly to Lima, stay at Guy's good friend's place in Miraflores for a few days and fly to Cuzco on the 4th day.
(b) On the 6th day take a train/start a 4 day backpacking trek to Machu Picchu where we will overnight at a Agua Calientes Hotel.
(c) On the 10th day take the train back to Cuzco for a 2 day stay, before flying back to Lima on the 13th day.
d) Take the return flight home on the 15th day.

MAY 13 .... Our daughter Julie drove us to the Airport at 6hoo hours, for the Delta/Aeroperu, Montreal/Miami/Lima, flights. After a long stop over at Miami we arrived Lima at 22h35 hours, right on time, for an uneventful trip.
Guy's Canadian friend, Hernando Gutierrez, was there waiting for us with his Company's van. Hernando works for the Canadian Company, BG Checo, as an electrical Engineer, the van has a Canadian Emblem so it travels around with Ambassador status. Hernando and his family live in the Lima ritzy-subdivision of Miraflores, he's renting a huge walled-in home, from an USA army type, they have servants and a company chaufferd van.
The Pope is to arrive here tomorrow, so Hernando informed that security is extremely tight all over Lima. He drove us by the site where he will be speaking to his flock tomorrow.

MAY 14 .... Hernando sent his chauffer to change money, 1USD = 187 Intis. After breakfast Hernando gave us a driving/sightseeing tour of the Lima area staying away from downtown because of the security. Visited the woodworking shop of Julio Ceasar, went shopping at a street market, I paid 12$ for a huge delicious lunch for 5 people, things are extremely cheap compared to our country.

MAY 15 .... Guy has the runs and not feeling well, went to the toilet 4 times during the night. Hernando (left at 5h00 hours) drove us 240km down the coast to Paracus and the Ballestas Islands. The whole coast is an arid desert, sand-terrain/moonscape-like with no vegetation.
10h00 hours we took the boat over to the Islands (Guy not feeling well, stayed back). The Islands are very impressive, full of birds and seals, considered to be one of the largest bird sanctuary in the world, it is a mountain of Guano (bird shit). They mine the Guano for fertilizer, we were told that over the years they've lowered the elevation by 100 feet because of the mining operation, the smell is extremely strong.
Hernando took us to a local restaurant for lunch instead of going the Hotel where we had breakfast upon arriving this AM (Guy and Sylvie didn't come as he is still sick), a delicious fish lunch for 3 people was 4 USD.
On the return we had to change a flat on the van, a gallon of gas cost 30 cents. Once back at Miraflores at 18h30 hours after a long day, we prepared our bags for tomorrows flight to Cuzco. I greatly enjoyed my day.
Guy feeling somewhat better, Rose is complaining of a sore throat. Hernando made our Hotel reservation in Cuzco (only one room was available) and ordered a taxi for the AM.
Hernando and his family have been unbelievable hosts, a really warm family, we can't thank them enough.

MAY 16 .... Our taxi arrived on schedule, 4h30 hours, he got stopped by the Polizia on the way to the Airport for a noisy muffler, Guy and I helped him tie the muffler to the car. The Pope is flying out today so security was extremely tight, the taxi did a good job avoiding the traffic.
While we waited in line at the Airport, a Travel Agent approached us for Hotel reservations in Cuzco, decided to book with him "Hotel Colonial Palace" at 15$.
8h10 hours our Aeroperu flight arrived Cuzco on time and in a dramatic fashion as it drops in Cuzco's huge beautiful valley. The Travel Agent, Wilbert, holding up a sign "Guy Hebert" which I personally thought was cool to be greeted this way in a far-away-place. We were mini-bussed to the very charming Hotel Colonial Palace with a tunnel entrance to a beautiful green court, the cost was 2300 Intis (12$).
We laid-around before going out to Plaza de Armas, a typical beautiful colonial place. Rose not feeling well (feverish), Guy feeling somewhat better but still weak.

MAY 17 .... Rose is very sick so I called for a Doctor, he was quick to arrive (8h45 hours), diagnosed an inflamed throat with infection, Rose is also a bit nauseated, he prescribed 2 type of pills plus she needs to stay in bed.
Rose and I decided that the trek must go on... Guy, Sylvie and I will leave in the morning for the 4 day trek as scheduled, she'll stay back and meet us at Machu Picchu on Saturday (21st). It was evident that Guy and Sylvie felt uncomfortable in leaving Rose behind.
I got the hotel "Wilbert" involved, he'll look after Rose .... will call on her, get her tickets and drive her to the train station on Saturday and arrange a few sight-seeing trips when she feels better.
We spent the rest of the day getting Rose's medication, last minute supplies and going to the train station for tickets for tomorrow's train ride to the TH.
As I packed my gear at night Rose still running a high fever, both of us feeling bad for the situation on hand.
Went to bed at 20h00 hours, will get up at 3h30 hours for tomorrow's 5h30 hour train.

MAY 18 (day 1, Cusco/Llullucha, hike is 10.5km)
We got to the train station in darkness and left in darkness at 5h50 hours, didn't know that we had seat assignments. Vendors came on board to sell food.
The train takes you down the 2 main valley to the Rio Urubamba and km88, where we got off the train (about 12 hikers). Everyone really pumped so they rush down down the track to the Check-in Station across the bridge over the Rio Urubamba (elev 2250M). We checked-in.
From there we climbed southerly along the left bank of Rio Cusichaca to Huay Llabamba (2800M, 9km). We took our second rest stop here, a local Peruvian offered his burro for the climb to the pass. We turned right and continued the climb up the Llullucha Valley to our first small campsite Llullucha Camp 1 (elev 3380).
We didn't have any altitude symptoms, however Guy still not 100% and feeling weak, he's not one to complain.
We were warned of robbers on the trail, so we were somewhat on the defense throughout the day.

MAY 19 (day 2, Llullucha/Runkuracay, 10.5km)
We climbed to the pass 'Abra de Huarmihuanusca' at elev 4198M (highest point on trail), superb/outstanding views as you look back, downtrail. From here the trail drops to Valley Runkuracay Camp 2 (at Rio Pacamayo) elev 3800M.

DAY 20 (day 3, Runkuracay/Phuyupatamarca, 16km)
Trail passes by Runkuracay Ruins , climbs to Abra de Runkuracay (3998M), drops to Sayamarca Ruins (3728M) before continuing to our 3rd campsite at Phuyupatamarca Ruins (3627M, 16km) a stupendous unbelievable site with the Rio Urubamba way down below. We camped inside the ruins on a rock outcrop, the official campsite is just above on the ridge.
The last 3 days have been go go all the time .... you get up and break camp, walk, set up camp, eat and go to bed ...... no time to really enjoy this trail/ruins/sights. Perhaps a 6 day trek would be much more enjoyable.

DAY 21 (day 4, Phuyupatamarca/Machu Picchu/Agua Calientes, 13km)
The trail starts/descends gradually (not difficult, super views in front of you the whole way) to Hydro Transmission and Communication Tower Complex. The caretaker and his dog showed us around, had 2 VCRs and 2 TVs, was very proud/friendly.
From here the trail drops steeply to Copesco Center, a resort place of sorts with restaurant/rooms, we rested here. Guy and Sylvie had decided to take a shower until they found out that a boy attendant would be holding the hose when they showered !!!!!
I decided to move-on alone in order not to be late for the one oclock rendevous time with Rose at Machu Picchu.
Near the end, the trail is built on the side of a cliff, number of bridges, unique and impressive trail, could be scarry if not for the vegetation. As you arrive at Machu Picchu the trail climbs a long stairway as it goes through a stone gate ..... in front of you/below you are hit with an awesome view that blows your mind, simply outstanding, the Machu Picchu Ruins.
I rushed down to get to Rose as soon as possible for an emotional embrace, she was safe and happy. Had beers at the Hotel as we waited for Guy and Sylvie, who were very happy to see Rose in good spirits. Rose was in bed for only one day (Wednesday), the other 2 days she went sight seeing.
The Hotel at the ruins was full, so we bussed to the bottom, the train station on the Rio Urubamba, and walked the RR Tracks to Agua Calientes where we got a room at Hostal Machu Picchu for $2.25 (nice place right on the river, recommended to us by 3 Kentuckians).
We showered then went to Aiko restaurant for dinner complete with wine, less than 10$ for 4 people.

MAY 22 (Agua Calientes/Cusco)
We all went to the hot springs for a great time followed by breakfast at the Aiko before checking out (this was an error on my part, original plan was to stay 2 nights).
We walked the tracks to the Machu Picchu train station. Bus to the top had room for 2 people, we got on the bus (big mistake) while Guy and Sylvie would wait for the next bus and buy our train tickets for this evenings train to Cusco.
We got to the top and walked the Machu Picchu site, when we descended much later Guy and Sylvie gave us some really bad news ..... their bus was cancelled as it didn't have enough passengers ????? Everyone pissed, we felt really bad for Guy and Sylvie.
This whole day was a screw up on my part.
We took the 17h30 train to Cusco, walked-to/checked-in back at the Hostal Colonial Palace (12$ per night). Had some trouble getting a room since we were only reserved for tomorrow night.
Out for dinner at a local chicken place.

MAY 23 & 24 (Cusco)
We spent 2 nice slow days in Cusco, walking the town/market, sight seeing, shopping, took in a folkloric show. We confirmed our return flight to Lima. Rose and I really loved this place and we would come back.
Guy still not 100%, Sylvie not feeling well the last few days, Rose is fully recovered.

MAY 25 & 26 (Cusco/Lima)
We took a morning flight to Lima, Guy and Sylvie went to Hernando's while we went to a Hotel Ariosto in Mariflores. Rose and I spent the 2 days doing a lot of sight seeing. We met a couple on the trail Carlos and Gloria from Lima, they invited us four to their place for a nice social event.
Rose and I took a collectivo to downtown Lima, Plaza des Armas, no one allowed in square, apparently they just had a government change, police, tanks and guns all over the place, very military-like.
For the last night Hernando and his wife Maria took us all to the Vivaldi Restaurant for an enjoyable dinner, Guy and I split the bill.

MAY 27
Our return flight was Lima/Miami/Boston/Montreal, we left Lima at 9h15 hours and arrived Montreal 21h15 hours. Waiting was our kids Michael, Celine, Julie and her friend David, Sylvie's brother was there for Guy and Sylvie.
We got back home to our dog Crystal at 22h45hours.


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:400 ft / 121 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3094 ft / 942 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Descent (To Destination) Statistics
    Gain on way in:400 ft / 121 m
    Loss on way in:797 ft / 242 m
    Distance:8.1 mi / 13 km
    Route:The Inca Trail-huinay huayna valley
    Start Trailhead:Puyupatamarca ruins  8271 ft / 2521 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2297 ft / 700 m
    End Trailhead:Agua Calientes  5577 ft / 1699 m

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