Archive for the ‘Peru Sports’ Category

Whoop Whoop!

About two months ago, I was struck by the possibility of making an article out of my upcoming experiences in Huaraz.  Well, I’m super-excited to say that  there was more to my idea than piss and vinegar because Adam Roy, the very nice editor at Matador Sport, just dropped me an email to say that my piece on bouldering the rocks of the Cordillera Blanca has gone live!

It is great to see a pre-trip pitch turn into something put up on a nice big website like Matador, and I have to say I’m addicted; what next?  Llama racing?  Extreme pisco drinking?  I know…shark wrestling.

I’ve really enjoyed being involved in the editorial process and getting a nuts-and-bolts look at what goes into putting an article up at Matador.  My writing has definitely improved for it.

You can see the bouldering article by following the link, and while you are at it I heartily suggest having a browse of Matador’s range of sites; there is some inspiring writing and some fantastic articles.


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This, apparently, is a ‘sneeze page’.

Clever online marketing people use it to re-hash old content and give a second life to popular articles and blogs.

Tardy travel bloggers also use them to present a big lump of posts that should have been done a month ago as sequential posts on the actual date-stamp of posting.

I’ll leave it down to the intellect of the reader to guess which category is mine.

My trip to Huaraz in August was a wonderful, life-changing milestone in the never-ending journey that is this Jolly Bloody Nice Outing.  If you’d like to browse the gallery of my experiences, I offer the following.

  1. Trying out hitching for the first time in Peru, against all the advice and odds
  2. A blast from the past – old friends in new places
  3. Walking into a dream-bubble at Keushu
  4. My first glacial meltwater-drinking experience
  5. Outwitted by piles of rocks
  6. The Jolly Nice version of the Santa Cruz trail
  7. What was left of my fingers after researching a climbing article
  8. The marvellous disaster that was the return hitch back home

Good bless all those who make it to the bitter end.  I wish I had a cash prize to offer.

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This is what happens when one’s pansy soft fingertips slip off climbing holds a few too many times.  Needless to say, my plans have changed as the majority of research for an article on bouldering in Huaraz must be conducted from the position of a spectator.  Bugger.

fingers mc raw

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A trip has been planned to Huaraz for over a month, and still there has been no sign of getting into shape for the inevitable climbing that Miri and I both want to do.  Following the inspiring but inevitable determination of my German friend, we walk up to the heap of rocks above Huanchaco known as Hill Of The Virgin that we passed on our accidentally epic walk to Cerro Campana a couple of days previous.

Bouldering Outside Huanchaco

“I’m sure there were some boulders around here to climb,” Miri muses as we scramble over the chalky, rounded formations before coming face to face with the Virgin herself, resplendent and smug in her alcove of innocence atop the hill.   A few steps around the corner reveal a slightly overhanging rock with large, juggy hand-holds that occasionally crumble, giving the spotter plenty to stay alert for.  I go first, awkwardly heaving myself from hold to hold, scraping pale skin from my knuckles, shins, knees, elbows and forearms.  Miri follows, moving fluidly across the residue of my scrapes.  Eventually we establish a simple route and both complete it, scooting over the top of the boulder.

Bouldering Outside Huanchaco

Hungry for more following our success, we wind our way amongst the bizarre rock formations, slipping in and out of gaps, pulling loose pebbles from cracks and clinging to edges as well as our soft fingertips will allow.  After a couple of hours we retire to Huanchaco covered in dust with aching forearms and hands but secure in the knowledge that we are a little more prepared for Huaraz.

Bouldering Outside Huanchaco

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“We’re going over there,” pronounces Miri, pointing to the distant hill that rises from the mist.  Four days later,  we set off from Huanchaco towards the looming rise in the distance with Tomasa trotting behind us, unaware that we are destined for a long walk.  “We’ll be done in four hours,” I predict, “One hour there, two to climb it, and an hour back.”  Shortly after leaving, it becomes clear that this is another example of why no-one should trust in my abilities in the great outdoors.  The path to the summit across the yawning stretch of barren sand-scape is blocked, firstly by huge pits torn out for the apparent purpose of extracting rocks, and secondly by a selection of squat but long battery-farming chicken barns.  Between navigating man-made cliffs, fetid drains that shat out the waste water from the barns and the barbed wire fences that surrounded them, we arrived within straight shot of the hill after a solid two hours walk.

“This isn’t the delightful walk that I expected,” I admit as we stomp up the steadily increasing incline.  We decide to cut our summit attempt short with the prospect of a long return journey, mildly irritated with Tomasa’s still-present abundance of energy despite our fatigue.  Looking back, the speck of Huanchaco appears very small set into the coastline amidst the vast expanse of the flat Northern coast of Peru.  I realize for a split second that if I don’t get out of it for a break soon, I’ll go crazy in a suffocating bubble.

A couple of photos later we descend, heading for the ragged outskirts of Trujillo which seem to be more direct than our previous maze of chicken industry.  Our brief attempts to hitch-hike back to Huanchaco prove unsuccessful as Tomasa laps water from greasy puddles and we decide to move further into town to pick up a combi.  A dusty trio viewed with curiosity as we traverse the ragged suburb, we are accosted by a cheerful selection of chubby women playing volleyball.  “You should get home before dark,” they cheerfully explain after posing for a self-requested photo, “Or you could get shot or raped.”  With a building sense of urgency in the gathering darkness, we board the bus and begin the wide circumnavigation of Trujillo to return back to the bubble some six hours after leaving.

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