We had the PERFECT plan!
Our goals were to see the amazingly beautiful Laguna 69 without the crowd and test again our capacity of staying at high altitude. Instead of doing the traditional walk to the Laguna in 1 day, we decided to hike the first day to the Refugio de Peru (4675m), stay a night there, continue to the Laguna 69 the next day and go back to the starting point.
We left from the quiet town of Yungai with a taxi which drove us to the start of the path at 3900m. After a slow and bumpy 2-hours drive, we started to hike toward the Refugio. The landscapes were stunning!
Three big ascents were awaiting us. The first two, even if tiering, went well but the third one gave us real difficulties! It was going from 4400m to 4700m before going a little bit down and finally reaching the Refugio on its “little” rock. That was hard! Feeling that out of breath was really not comfortable and the snow (again!) didn’t help at all!
After 4:20 hours of hiking, instead of the 2 hours announced for the standard walkers, we finally arrived at the Refugio and started to experiment the Soroche (altitude sickness). People always say that you just need to go down, but when you have a long hike in front of you, you don’t go back down that easily. So we had to take some pills, drink a lot of maté de coca and be patient.
After a good night, we felt happily better, a little bit shocked by the experience, but definitely better. We finally decided to take it easy and just go down without seeing the mystic Laguna 69…
Of course, we are a little bit disappointed but when we think about the views from the Refugio, we finally have no regrets and are really happy to have done something off the beaten track.
Please enjoy these views!
Pisco – 5752m
Huandoy (6360m) in the clouds with Pisco
Chopicalqui – 6354m