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.
“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.
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.