The story about ALPAMAYO in outdoor mag, Germany

15 11 2010

outddoor mag 01 | 2011 will be sold from 14.12.2010



Finally – the first story about our trip is going to be printed. In the german magazine “outdoor“.

Just before christmas “outdoor”, being published by Motorpresse Stuttgart, will have a 8 to 10 page story about our circuit of the Alpamayo on the Santa Cruz Trail.

Outdoor 01/2011 will be on sale from 14. december 2010.



Outdoor_Preview 01 | 2011


Outdoor 12/2010 - das aktuelle Heft

Around the Alpamayo

6 06 2010

From Cusco we hopped to Lima (one hours flight) to drive north to Huaraz, a small town in the Cordillera Blanca – also called the “Chamonix of Peru”.  More than 20 mountains over 6000m (19700 ft) were waiting for us. We did a 9 day hike around the Alpamayo (130 km, 90miles, with one or two passes every day) and are now back in Huaraz. Today we take a bus back to Lima – to fly home on monday.

A little detour to the Alpamayo basecamp.

Day 2 of the Alpamayo Circuit. Amazing glaciers all around the camp.

Been there… the Inca City

22 05 2010

The typical Machu Picchu view... okay, the background only.

The promised photo…. 7 o’clock at Machu Picchu. Now we are back in Cusco, resting, and planning the last days. Probably more trekking north of Lima, at Huaraz.

This was the path around Salkantay…   beautiful and stunning landscape, but quite a tough walk….

The way to and around Salkantay.

Nice try, thanks Chachani

8 05 2010

First morning light on Chachani summit.

The Chachani (6076m, 19.930ft) is the most impressive and highest volcano near Arequipa. We tackled it quite fearless and perhaps with a bit of lack of respect on our own – but had no luck.

With a 4×4 transport it takes 2.5 hrs from Arequipa to get to the begin of the trail at 4855m (15.930ft). Then you hike up to your base camp at about 5200m (17.060ft) which takes around 2 hours.

The problem is: You have to get up at 2.00 am to start your summit ascent. The first part we had checked out the afternoon before so we would find our way with headlamps to a saddle at around 5600 m (18.370ft). In sheer darkness we arrived at the beginning of the snow and ice area and started a long traverse along a quite steep slope. Some days before over 20 people had tried the ascent to the summit so there should have been a well trampled track. So we thought. But after two hours the track fainted more and more and we started to doubt if we were on the right path. Temperatures were way below freezing point and Kim and me had severe problems with cold hands and feet. You start worrying if you can’t feel your fingers anymore, don’t you? As it was still dark we decided to head back and walk down in a rocky valley to check out alternative paths.

As the first sunlight hit the scene we could see that we had been totally right. The icy and snowy path was leading to the next ridge from where you start to hike up to the first and then to the real summit of Chachani. As we detected this it was too late to start a second attempt. We felt a little sorry because this time we had slept well and had nearly no signs of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) like headache or nausea. And we walked quite fast considering the high altitude and the darkness.

With mixed feelings we crawled slowly back to the first saddle where the first rays of sun warmed our frozen bones. The descent to the base camp then was easy. Warm tea and potato soup helped to get back to life. The rewarding of this try was the complete loneliness (it was only us two in the base camp) and the amazing wildlife. We saw a fox strolling through the base camp after we had hiked up a little bit on the first day, two eagles landing 50m away from our camp and a cute brown mouse near our tent making a hell of a noise the whole night through. And we detected puma prints on the path in the snow (our driver had told us that there were pumas in the Chachani area). Or was it the Andean Yeti?

And we experienced an earthquake in the middle of the night. Kim was close to jump out of the tent while the earth was shaking under us. I felt quite lucky to be outside and not in a building in the city. For Remco from our Hostal Tambo Viejo who was organizing all our trips the “terremoto”  was quite normal.

I am still thinking about coming back and give Chachani another try. Volunteers welcome. Now I can act as guide.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bike fun in Arequipa

6 05 2010

The white city of Arequipa in the south of Peru is definitely worth a visit. It is surrounded by three volcanoes   – Chachani, Misti and Pichu Pichu with altitudes close to and above 6000m (18.000ft) – and there is a lot of outdoor stuff to do like rafting, hiking the Colca Canyon and biking. We combined hiking the Chachani with a bike downhill from 5000m  (15.000 ft) altitude.

Mountainbiking starts with a downhill from the foot of El Misti.

Two days before we biked around the Misti with a small detour to the town of Chiguata with a beautiful old church built from the often used white volcanic stone named Sillar.

The church of Chiguata made of white Sillar blocks.

Great fun and cultural experience too because you ride through valleys with pre-Inca terraces which are still used today for growing herbs and alfalfa.

Riding through a valley with pre-Inca terraces.

Beautiful landscape close to Arequipa.

The bike tours are offered by Aldo Pena, who was several times Peruvian champion in mountainbiking and road cycling.

An eagle at the church of Chiguata.

El condor pasa

3 05 2010

El Condor...

... pasa...

The Colca Canyon ist the second deepest canyon of the world  as we learned while visiting Peru. So it was a must to hike it – and also a good option to get used to the altitude. You start at the small town of Cabanaconde (a 5-6  hours bus ride from Arequipa) and you walk down around 1000m (3.000 ft) to the river in the canyon bed.

Hiking down Colca Canyon.

We ran out of water before we reached the village we were heading for. The hand drawn map had not shown that you had to hike up the canyon on the other side again, then going along the slope and to walk down the whole distance again.

After 8 hours of walking we decided to turn around and  go back to the river – to boil some water and disinfect it.

We slept outside on the sandy river banks in a full moon night at amazing 22 C Celsius at 2.200m (6.600ft) altitude and hiked back up to Cabanaconde  the next morning. Sore muscles guaranteed.

On the way to the Colca Canyon you pass by the Cruce del Condores. We were lucky. Exactly in our 20 minute break there where about five condors soaring close to the look out point in  150 metres (450 ft) distance.

On the way to and from Cabanaconde you drive over the alitplano where a lot of llamas and guanacos are kept in herds. So this is a road sign worth being printed on t-shirts I think.

Beware of Llamas at the altiplano.

Pichu Pichu

2 05 2010

Pichu Pichu means summit to summit

Pichu Pichu means Summit to Summit and it is one of three volcanoes near Arequipa. After a 3 hours drive with a 4×4 we hiked up to 5100m (15500 feet) to set camp there. To get an impression of this vast and lonely landscape check out the PHOTOS.

Camp Confluencia – the gateway to Aconcagua

24 03 2010

It is one of the seven summits and the highest mountain outside  the himalayan range: the Aconcagua. We decided to stop by there and visit the gateway to this famous mountain,  the Camp Confluencia at 3400m altitude.

Aconcagua - the south face seen from Campo Francia.

From Campo Francia (4100m) the spot we visited the next day you have impressive views to the technical difficult south face of Aconcagua. I added some detail shots of the seracs and icefields hanging there. It looks brutal even with clear sight. I don’t want to imagine how it is hanging in there and clouds and stormwinds howling with up to 120 miles per hour….

Okay, there is also the normal hiking path over the north face. You have to go to Campo de Mulas and then on to the Nido del Condores, the nest of the condors. But what we heard sounded more awful than inviting: up to 800 tents in the high season, loud music, crowds and overfilled loos and so on…does not really feel like a real experience of remote wilderness on a mountain.

Luckily there were only 3 more tents at the Camp Confluencia – end of the season when only trekking permits for 3 days are given out. You don’t get a permit for the summit at the end of march anymore. Which is quite a pity because the weather we had was perfect – over 20 degree C in the sun and nights with temperatures around 2 C.

The hikes are not difficult. You just walk along a trotten path in brown and grey gravel, sometimes up, sometimes just levelled. And you try not to walk to fast because you feel the altitude and you have to listen to your body to avoid AMS aka altitude sickness.

After three days in the outdoors and surrounded by stunning mountains we hiked back to the entrance of the park and to the ruta nacional #7 where we started to walk in the direction of Chile hoping that someone would give us a lift.


Villarrica – a view inside mother earth

19 03 2010

The volcano of Villarrica is still active – which means that the streets of Pucon at the foot of the snow capped mountain have green signs where to flee to if the volcano bursts out.

You see always a cloud above the summit – which is not really a cloud but the gases flowing out of the volcano.

Huffing and puffing was not only the volcano. Myself coming back from Germany two days ago and totally out of shape was puffing heavily while trying to follow Kim and our fast guide Mauricio Bustamante

Our path (gpx) to the summit of Villarrica

After a one hour drive from Pucon to the beginning of the ascent, the ski resort of Villarrica, Mauricio and Kim started very fast to hike up the gravelly steep slopes. After an hour I knew why Mauricio had walked so fast – groups in identical anoraks and boots stepped out of the chairlift besides us – you can rent all the equipment and go in big groups up the volcano. We didn’t want to get stuck behind these and walked even faster.

I felt like on the Transalpine Run –  sore legs, no air to breathe and the mountain before me seemed to grow bigger and bigger.

Luckily Mauricio guided only us two and after 3 hours we were on the top. Because  of the activities and the earthquakes of the last weeks you were not allowed to hike Villarrica on your own.

After crossing some ice- and snowfields with crampons you reach the crater rim. To look inside the volcano you have to wait until the wind changes. Then you jump to the crater, try to get a glimpse inside and when your guide yells you quickly run back to get out of the cloud – which contains toxic chloride gases.

We had very good sight to the Volcano Lanin and to the Lake Villarrica. But the best part was still to come. Instead of walking down 1800 vertical meters and adding pain to the already strained quadriceps we could slide down on the snow. All the companies and guides provide you with a sliding pant – like diapers for adults with a reinforced backside. You just sit on your butt and control your speed with your ice axe….

Great fun and definitely not within the mountaineering ethic rules of the German Alpenverein DAV…. but, hey, it saved my legs for the next days.

View inside mother earth

The slding pant - saves your legs


With Diego to Buenos Aires

21 02 2010

Munich – Madrid – Buenos Aires
Remind me to unclick Iberia while searching for a flight with (btw a perfect website for searching/booking/evaluating flights with multi-stops all over the world). Don’t misunderstand me. The staff members from Iberia are doing their job. The flight attendants are attending the flight. And that’s it. They don’t attend the passengers, or so. Asking for something extra like snacks because they only had sandwiches with jamon while you had tried to prebook vegetarian means that they have to go beyond their duty – what they don’t really like. Safety and everything else is okay but the service is average – or for a long long distance flight of 13 hours for 1100 Euros less than average. Including a not working sound system on three rows in the plane including ours.
Never mind – we made it to Buenos Aires in one piece with only half an hour delay which is not bad because we had to fly around some thunderstorms and had strong headwind.

The best thing happend at the Barajas airport of Madrid. We were waiting for the boarding when I said to Kim: Look at this guy – cool sunglasses when I thought “Mmmh, he looks quite familiar somehow” – it was Diego Maradona, the “hand of God” and soccer titan in South America – or all over the world?
He looked quite exhausted, had only one buddy with him and when people wantet do take a photo with him he just waved his hand slightly refusingly. I could not withstand to take a spy shot with the small digicam and got lucky – I mean it really looks like a spy cam shot and I swear it is Diego Maradona.
On the plane we did what everybody does – reading, napping, and planning our trip en detail. Meaning trying to figure out how many days we have to do to circumnavigations in two national parks. Because we have to fly to Caracas/Isla Margarita to start our in-between-beach-holiday before we fly back to Santiago (or Lima/Peru) which is not decided yet) on the 28.04.2010.
All the guide books say between 7 and 10 days for the circuito grande but the daily distances seem quite short. So we plan to do it a little bit faster – hopefully. Otherwise there is not enough time to climb some volcanos on the leg between Puerto Montt and Santiago. We will see. And keep you posted.