7/2/2011: Huayna: To High Camp

I'm so bad it is scary. I shouldn't be allowed outside of the house without a minder. I came *this* close to leaving my headlamp in the low camp…

During the night, I used my new pee bottle twice. The second time I was getting worried that I would overflow it, but I ended with it just totally full. I really didn’t want to put on a jacket and boots to dump it outside in the cold and dark.

When I returned to bed, I left my headlamp next to my mattress.

When I got up in the morning and packed up stuff, I didn’t notice the lamp and left it there. Just before we were ready to leave, when I was almost finished putting on my boots and gators, Sebastian was going through someone else's pack and happen to mention his headlamp. That suddenly brought my headlamp to mind, so I dashed back upstairs (with my boots on—bad bad) and got it. If I had left it, I would be spending the day in the hut instead of climbing.

Due to the snow, there was a slight change of plans—we were wearing our mountaineering boots on the hike to high camp. It is a weird feeling when putting on your boots winds you and leaves you gasping for breath. I can't say I recommend it.

We climbed in mixed cloud/fog, where it would briefly clear before closing in again. It snowed on us most of the way up.

One of the Bolivian Guides
Hiking Up
More Hiking Up

At one point we had to sign in with some staff people who live in a little house there.

Halfway up we climbed along a narrow ridge and then down to a little valley. There was a small stone ruin which was used to house the gate keeper. We stopped for lunch. The rest was good because right afterwards the trail got steep.

Normally the trail is just dirt and rock. But for us (lucky us!), there was the snow, which made it slipperier and harder. We only climbed 300 m (1000 feet) but by the end I had to stop every few steps and gasp for air 4 to 6 times before taking another few steps.

The scary part is that the following climb would be about three times longer (about 1000 m). It would be like climbing Mt Washington, but starting out at a higher altitude than Mount Rainier, and doing it on glaciers. There should be a few feet of new snow just to make life interesting. There might or might not be any view.

The higher hut has a “private room” that we were using. The downside was that it was rather cramped. Two walls contained bunk beds although for some unknown reason, the top bunk was so low that you couldn’t sit on the bottom bunk (and I am not particularly tall). The ceiling is pretty high, so I don't know why they didn't raise the top bunk slightly.

Pretty much all of the gear that I was wearing, my boots, gaiters, pants, jacket, pack, etc. were pretty damp or wet from hiking up in the snow.

View Past Outhouse During Rare Clearing

We went to bed probably around eight or so. I managed to fall asleep, despite having half my pack in my sleeping bag to dry out from the hike up. But around 10 or 11, I was getting hot, and I needed to pee. Fortunately I had my new pee bottle. The guides and our cooks were sleeping in the hallway, so going out would have been a pain even if I wanted to. So, despite it being a “public space” I just knelt on the floor and use the bottle. That worked well, but I never did fall asleep until 1 AM when it was time to get up.

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