Ice Climbing in Huaraz, Peru

I never thought I’d climb a glacier. I mean, what did I know about ice climbing? Not the first thing, that’s what. 

But…when you’re travelling, you often get the chance to do things you’ve probably never considered. Like ice climbing!  

Want to see a short vid of us climbing? Click here!!

So no, Matt and I didn’t set out to go ice climbing. We were just looking for one last beautiful and awesome day trip before we left Huaraz, Peru. And when Galaxia Expeditions presented ice climbing as an option, we jumped on the opportunity!

Galaxia Expeditions provided all the equipment – from snow pants and gloves, to boots, crampons, harness and pick axes. And helmets. We were well equipped but obviously didn’t know the first thing about climbing up a wall of ice. 

Luckily, our guide was awesome and taught us the basics of how to climb really quickly.

How to Ice Climb (from someone whose only done it once)  

Basically, you gently but sturdily drive the sharp pick end of your icepick into the ice. You don’t have to do it hard – and actually it’s a waste of precious of energy if you hammer the ice. Then you do the same with the other one, while you’re reaching up. You make the motion like you’re climbing up a ladder. Once your arms are steady, it’s time to get those legs moving.  

Take one toe out of the ice while using your arms to pull yourself higher (and your other leg to propell yourself up). Then stick your toe back into the ice and bring your other leg up. The whole time, keep your body parallel to the ice. 

And don’t freak out because you 100% should be attached to a rope incase you fall.

The rope also lets you get down to the ground once you’re done climbing. 

I loved every second of ice climbing. The feeling of tapping the ice picks into the ice just so – jabbing the toes of your crampons into the ice – the whole system working together. The complete quiet that surrounds you. It’s just you, the ice, and your breath. 

I also felt like I was defying gravity. Which is pretty awesome! I mean, it’s not like it’s that easy to walk up a nearly 90 degree wall…is it!? 

And yet, here we were. Climbing walls of ice!  

I was quiet amazed with every step I took that I didn’t fall off the ice. I mean, I was doing it! Really doing it!

– Cyn

Pisco Paul’s Peruvian Pursuit [Video] – Peru Hop from Lima to Cusco

He thought it was going to be a relaxing tropical vacation. And then Matt sent him the 2.5 week itinerary…and told him to pack a hat. A wool hat. Because it’s gunna be cold.

A trip to Peru in August isn’t a tropical vacation. 

It’s not exactly relaxing either. Why would you sleep in when you could be out exploring a desert, or sand boarding down sand dunes, or hiking the world’s second deepest canyon, or hanging out with penguins (from afar)? 

You can have a lifetime of experiences in just a few weeks in Peru – and explore one of the Seven Wonders of the World while you’re at it.

So that’s exactly what we set out to do!

Pisco Paul’s Peruvian Pursuit started in Lima. In Lima, we boarded a Peru Hop bus and let the insanity of a non-stop two and half week trip through Southern Peru commence. 

I’m talking…

…a nearly 5000 meter altitude gain meeting “Juanita” the Incan ice maiden in Arequipa – panoramic views of Lima and Puno –  exploring deserts and mountains – the best dang clay oven Andean bread you could ever have – partying in the small but mighty desert town of Huacachina – losing it in underground slave tunnels – getting caught up in the stories of ancient Peruvian cultures –  witnessing smoking volcanos – more pre-5:30am wake-ups than are reasonable – hiking the world’s second deepest canyon – the only Peruvian desert oasis – coming pretty close to dying during dune buggying – sandboarding down sand dunes – 2 horrible night buses – 2 awesome boat rides – the chance to admire penguins, sealions, and boobies – lots of packets of Ritz cheese crackers – delicious (alpaca) crepes in Arequipa – catching sight of magestic (but ugly) condors – visiting floating islands made out of reeds on Lake Titikaka – so many pisco sours and cervezas – a few cold showers – hiking along railroad tracks – having an eagle sit on your head – and basking in the beauty and glory of Machu Picchu

Those words up there can’t do those two and a half weeks justice – and I know it. Just watch the video, okay? Be warned though, you might have the sudden urge to book a ticket to Peru. And who are we to blame you!?

If videos aren’t your thing (or you suffer from super slow internet like we do sometimes), Matt put together this picture album just for you!

Our Route:

Lima – Paracas + the Ballestas Islands – Huacachina for the sand dunes- Arequipa – Colca Canyon – Puno – Lake Titikaka – Cusco – Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

For 10 days, we travelled with Peru Hop from Lima to Cusco. For simplicity’s sake, we booked all of our tours and excursions through them, and were pleased with all of them. We didn’t use their hostel recommendations, rather, we opted to book our own accomodation in each city and town. And we DIYed our trip to Machu Picchu because of time and budget constraints. 

– Cyn and Matt

“OH F***!!!” – Dune Buggy Huacachina [Video]

Huacachina. A tranquil little tropical oasis in the middle of the sourthern Peruvian desert, it is not. 

No, this place is clubland Peru complete with cheap BBQs, cheap(ish) drinks and loud all-night-long music. It is indeed a desert oasis and for the briefest of moments in its history there may have been an urge to take Huachachina down the classy path of desert hideaway for the wealthy. 

Thankfully though, this didn’t happen. Instead, the people of nearby Ica saw the giant sand dunes surrounding Huachachina and put their car mechanic skills and imaginations to the test. They’ve built the craziest and loudest machines you could conjure up. And then made them go fast. 

And then put them on the sand dunes. And then scared the bejesus out of every tourist that came through.

Here’s our beast with it’s “driver”:

Here’s us, shitting ourselves. Enjoy.

— Matt