When I first decided to climb a mountain in Peru in July of 2014, I found myself distracted from the climb itself by the long solo journey I would have to take just to get to the mountain. After a couple of layovers and 11 hours in the air, I made it to Lima by about midnight. My ride to the bus station wasn’t due to arrive until 8 a.m., so I found a quiet place and spent the night there in the terminal. After a sorry excuse for a night’s sleep, I took a wild, one-hour cab ride, followed by a 10-hour bus ride north up the coast then west up into the Cordillera Blanca, a range in the Andes. Nestled in the shadows of Peru’s highest peaks is the beautiful town of Huaraz. I spent a few days acclimating there and a couple of days at base camp before my group made its way toward the summit of Chopicalqui. At 20,846 feet, the summit of Chopicalqui is over 6,000 feet higher than anything I have ever climbed. Below is the journey in words and pictures.
At Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, where the journey began.