How do you pack for a 3 month adventure in South America, which has every concieveable climate, all while not checking in your bag at the airport? Here’s my best attempt.
Total weight: 16 kg. Total volume: 55L (40L, 10kg +15L, 6kg). Hand luggage + ‘personal item’ if all goes right.
1x Reading tablet,
1x Spare phone,
2x Multi Adapters,
1x 20000 mA battery,
1x noice cancelling Headphones,
1x Action camera,
1x Ulvang wool sweater,
1x Hiking pants,
7x t shirts,
2x long sleeve,
3x hiking socks,
1x swimming pants,
1x merino t shirt
1x merino long sleeve
1x rain jacket
1x back up large poncho
1x compressible down jacket,
1x hiking boots
1x converse shoes
1x compressible day pack
1x fanny pack
1x compressible water bottle
1x rain protection bag
1x sleeping kit (ear plugs, mask, air pillow)
1x emergency med kit
1x medicine bag
1x microfiber towel
1x sleeping bag liner
1x dirty clothes sack
1x sink plug
1x clothing line
1x wet wipes
1x money belt
1x document file
1x shoe bag
3x packing cubes
2x compressible plastic bag
Some things will be left along the way, as I continue to optimize.
Rough day in Peru, Salkantay Pass 🇵🇪 24km hike, ~1000m ascent from 3700m to 4650m, followed by ~2000m descent to 2700. I’m totally not in shape for this 5 day, 74km hike, but I am surving so far. Last stop – Machu Picchu. First time being at such a high altitude, but the immensity of the mountains and the beauty of the surrounding nature makes it possible.
And of course, the jewel that was waiting for us at the end of the trek: Machu Picchu. In terms of the beauty that humans are capable of creating, MP represents the peak, imho. I don’t think my eyes have enjoyed as much pleasure as they did resting on MP. The location is just ridiculous, suddenly within this valley of a thousand mountains, MP appears. Unbelievable.
Big thanks to the group that I walked the Salkantay trek with, this was a highlight and an unforgettable experience in so many ways. Especially thanks to @jaimebiernaski for all the great pictures, and for carrying my ass up Mount Machu Picchu – another 600m ascend after you reach MP btw… After 5 days and 80km of walking, I was finished. @jaimebiernaski and @emmatintin insisted however, and of course they were right. Ending the trip with the epic view from the mountain, seeing Machu Picchu from above, was just right.
The Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is one of those few, rare and actual once in a lifetime experiences. I cannot recommend it enough. Had an amazing guide, @rubenquispemaza and a cheerful, positive and loving group that made sure everyone made it through with a smile. It is really tough, a definite challenge, but the rewards.. the rewards!!! Gorgeous. Feels deserved.
An amazing group of promising mountaineers who all made it to 6k for the first time.
Death road survivors 🇧🇴 80km mountain biking down North Yungas Road, which got its name because 200-300 people used to die here yearly. It starts at 4600m and descends to 1500m, with a width of roughly 3m and vertical drops of up to 800m. It used to be the main connection between La Paz and Yungas, thus there would be traffic in both directions. The Top Gear Bolivia special shows how insane that used to be. Since then a new road has been built, and the death road is now only used by tourists, 25 of whom has died cycling down. Obviously riding down this road is a very stupid thing to do, but it’s also very very fun!
Got above 5000m for the first time today, Rainbow Mountain at 5036m and the Red Mountain at 5069m. Mostly fine with the altitude, had to take one aspirin against headache on the way down.
Hundreds of people go to the Rainbow Mountain daily (2nd most popular in Peru after Machu Picchu), but barely anyone goes to the Red Valley / Mountain. So few in fact, that I had it all too myself for the first 15 minutes. Which is a shame, because the view from there is definitely the prettier one – and from the perspective of 🌈 it is completely hidden.
It takes a bit more effort, but is so worth it. Take a left on the way down, pay the locals a few dollars and follow the trails in the dust. There’s two (+?) routes, the descent is pretty sleep.
6075m – Chachani Volcano, getting serious now! For context, that’s higher than every mountain in Europe, Africa, Oceania and Antarctica 😁 The oxygen level here is 9.7%, less than half that of sea level.
It’s categorized as one of the easier 6k summits to make, but that does not mean it’s easy, just that its non-technical. We made camp at 5200m to acclimatize, where it’s common to only be able to sleep for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Then we woke up at 01:30 am, and started the 900m ascent towards summit, reaching it around 06:30 am.
900m ascend at this altitude is tough, everything is working against you. Your body doesn’t work as it normally does, and you’re forced to go slow. Headaches, stomach pain, dizziness. It’s minus 10 degrees Celsius, windy, and the trail gets really slim towards the end. Our guide cheerfully told us that those who made a wrong step in the past died on impact ✨️
I don’t know why mountains suddenly attract me so much, but the sense of relief and accomplishment, accompanied with a proper panoramic view is very special. I’ve met some really inspiring people while trekking this trip, and they’ve kept pushing me to do harder things. As far as mountains goes though, this is probably my limit for a while. I am absolutely destroyed 🙃
For proper mountaineers this is realtively easy, but I think it’s cool that (well prepared) amateurs can get these views too!
Huayna Potosi (6088m), Friday 5th of August 2022, 06:05 AM. Me and my guide Rodriguez were the first to reach summit after ascending the snowy glacier for 6 hours from 2nd camp.
The magic of solo traveling. Up until ~2 months ago, I’d barely done any trekking or climbing that an average child couldn’t have done. So how did I end up here, roped up with crampons and ice axes on a glacier?
Starting my trip in a hostel in Bogotá, Colombia, someone mentioned the Lost City trek. That seemed like an surmountable challenge, so I booked it, while continuing to research other treks and climbs in the continent I was about to explore. Huayna Potosi (HP) came up for Bolivia, it seemed impossible – but it’s beauty stuck in my imagination!
During Lost City, other treks were mentioned during conversation. Salktantay came up, group convinced me I was capable, I was doubtful. Quietly I asked around for HP, no luck yet. From there I flew to Amazonas, walked into a random guesthouse and got put into the same room as a French girl. She had just been in Bolivia for 2 months and had climbed HP! I got the number of the guide on whatsapp.
Meanwhile I did Salkantay, Rainbow mountain, Chachani and so forth, trying to prove to myself that HP was possible. I kept mentioning the mountain, even said I «would try», but I didn’t really believe it yet. Was chatting with the guide at this point though. Having summited Chachani, another 6k, I thought I’d let HP go. Arriving in La Paz however, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. But I was too tired. Went away, came back to La Paz, eventually made the reservation.
Day before my big goal: diarrhea, phone broken. Pharmacy, immodium, phone repair. Do the climb anyway, puke on the way up day 1, stuck on toilet all day 2. Fine on day 3 (summit day) although only 2 hours sleep. Wake up at 23:00, summit, walk to camp 2, pack equipment, camp 1, rest. 15 hours of absolute pain, misery, fear, and joy. The few minutes on top of these mountains just brings me to tears, the mental suffering and meditation it takes to get there, meaningful coincidences and people that made me believe in myself..
This is why traveling this way is so special. And hard.
Rio de Janairo