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Added: Dec 9, 2010

From: TripAdvisorTRIPWOWu

Duration: 2:20

Preview of Thymeoff's blog at TravelPod. Read the full blog here: This blog preview was made by TravelPod using the TripAdvisor™ TripWow slideshow creator. Entry from: Huaraz, Peru Entry Title: "Hiking in the Cordillera Blanca" Entry: "Stunningly spectacular! Incredibly beautiful! This has been a week of superlatives, but it is almost impossible to capture in words the awesome magnificence of the snow-capped peaks along the Callejón de Huaylas in the Huaraz area of central Perú. As we made our way through the valleys and passes, every turn in the road, or twist on the hiking trail, would inevitably result in another chorus of oohhs and aahhhs! The Cordillera Blanca is only a small part of the Andean mountain range that runs the full length of Perú, but in less than 200 km there are over 50 peaks of more than 17,500 ft altitude. In comparison, North America has only three mountains in this league (including Mt. Logan in Canada and Mt. Denali in the U.S) and Europe has none. The jewel in the crown is the twin peaked Mt. Huascarán - at 20,845 ft the highest mountain in Perú, and the highest anywhere in the tropics. There is also Alpamayo - considered by many experienced climbers to be the most beautiful mountain in the world - as well as the almost perfect pyramid of Artesonraju, and the jagged peaks of Huandoy. Besides the snowy peaks, other natural attractions of the area include the startlingly clear aquamarine glacial lakes, the rocky high-walled narrow mountain passes known as quebradas, the bubbling hot springs, and fascinating flora and fauna. However, all this natural beauty has come with a price. The area is still geologically active as the Nazca tectonic plate continues to push eastward against the South American continent, and there have been many devastating tragedies in the last century. In 1941 an avalanche and resulting flood above Huaraz destroyed half the city and killed about 5,000 inhabitants. Another huge avalanche in 1962 completely destroyed the small town of Ranrahirca, killing about 4,000 people. The worst disaster occurred in May, 1970, when a massive earthquake (measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale) affected a large area of central Perú, killing over 70,000 people. Almost ninety per cent of Huaraz was destroyed again and half the population lost their lives. The earthquake also dislodged an enormous block of ice from the north peak of Huascarán, producing a flood of mud and rocks which completely buried the town of Yungay in a matter of minutes, with very few survivors. Since then a lot of work has been done to control water levels in the lakes and stabilize avalanche-prone areas, in an effort to minimize the chance of similar catastrophes in future. The towns and cities have been rebuilt, and the area is now a thriving tourist centre for mountaineering, rock climbing and trekking. Our first stop was in the small town of Caraz at the northern end of the valley, and from there we drove up a torturous road through the narrow pass with 3,000 ft sheer rock walls on either side, to the Laguna Parón area for a few days of hiking. To camp beside the crystal clear aquamarine lake at an altitude close to 13,000 ft and trek in the shadows of the surrounding towering snowy peaks - Huandoy, Pisco, Chacraraju, Pirámide, Artesonraju and Caraz - was to be totally humbled by the powerful forces and natural beauty. We hardly met half a dozen other people each day, and at night we could enjoy the total quiet and the amazingly clear, star-studded, skies. We then moved on to the next valley, with Laguna Llanganuco nestled below the towering bulk of Mt. Huascarán. This time, however, the clouds stubbornly refused to clear and drizzly rain persisted through the night and most of the following day. Finally, somewhat damp and discouraged, we decided that it was time to make our way down to the valley again. As we wound our down through the quebrada into the agricultural foothills, ..." Read and see more at: Photos from this trip: 1. "View back across the Cordillera Negra" 2. "Quebrada de Parón" 3. "A peek of things to come!" 4. "Peaks galore" 5. "Huandoy highlighted" 6. "Lupins accent Mt Pirámide" 7. "Majestic Artesonraju" 8. "Aquamarine meets Sky Blue" 9. "Hillside harvest" 10. "Carnations for export" 11. "Cloth of Gold" 12. "Washday blues" 13. "Working in the shadow of the snowcaps" 14. "Sharing a joke with Lucas, Louis and Roosevelt" 15. "Another perfect camping spot" 16. "Entertaining visitors" 17. "Mt Huascarán catches the evening sun" 18. "Icing on the cake" 19. "Thursday market in Yungay" 20. "Licks good!" See this TripWow and more at

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