Becoming friendly with a large group of alpacas while traveling in Peru, a hiker reaches out to say hi.
inside an all day epic: part two
inside an
all day epic:
part two
Professional climber Charlotte Durif and Head Coach of the U.S. Climbing Team Josh Larson uncover a hidden gem of unclimbed potential outside the small village of Pitumarca, Peru.
Up close profile shot of Charlotte, looking into the camera lens with climbing helmet and protective eyewear on, gears up for the next route setting.
A distant view of a valley in Chacco Huayllascca in Peru. Research online called this area, “Pitumarca,” but we learned through the locals that this valley was the “Hachojo sector.”
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
During their first visit in 2018, Josh and Charlotte started exploring into a parallel valley of Chacco Huayllascca. Research online called this area, "Pitumarca," but locals called it the "Hachojo sector." It was here that they discovered an impressive limestone cliff standing at the end of the valley. But with only two days left in Peru, it wasn’t nearly enough time to start setting routes…
Climbing at dawn in Peru, Charlotte looks up at the rock wall above for her next move.
Charlotte sitting in the back of their SUV, next to her pack and rope, in the Chacco Huayllascca Valley.
“It overcame our thoughts… We’d never stopped dreaming of lines following the features and streaks we’d seen on that wall.”
Above the shoulder, sketching out a potential line up the rock wall.
“It overcame our thoughts… We’d never stopped dreaming of lines following the features and streaks we’d seen on that wall.”
At the farmers market in the center square of Pitumarca, Peru, a man sits in his booth with all kinds of rope and material for sale.
SIMPLE LIVING
In Pitumarca, small streets spread from the center square, where festive dances and local farmer’s markets come to life each day.
Alpaca close up, smiling for the camera
View of Mountain Hardwear Dome Tent with a mountain in the background
two images side by side of the Peruvian countryside, one with a local woman walking with a calf and the other of a meadow in golden light
“LOCAL PEOPLE LIVED OFF-GRID: NO POWER OR PIPED WATER, JUST A RIVER AND SOME SOLAR ENERGY. PITUMARCA IS SMALL ENOUGH TO WALK, SO LOCALS DON’T NEED VEHICLES FOR DAILY TASKS; BUT WHEN WE DROVE THROUGH THE CHACCO HUAYLLASCCA VALLEY, WE WOULD OFTEN HAVE SOME ADDITIONAL PASSENGERS JUMPING ON BOARD TO SHORTEN THEIR TWO-HOUR HIKE INTO A 15-MINUTE COMMUTE.”
Charlotte at the top of the route, throws down the rope
Josh stroking a piece of scrap metal as if it's a guitar close to camp
“We love that people live traditionally, far from that of our westernized societies, and we often find ourselves thinking back to this simplicity that’s filled with joy, dancing, and love.”
Landscape of a rustic home in Pitumarca, a small village in Peru.
PROTECTING THE LAND
Locals have prospered in these mountains and cliffs, farming potatoes and feeding llamas for generations dating back to the Incas. These communities live off the land, continuing what their forefathers started, developing new techniques and adapting as life requires. Because of this, there are barriers that climbers have to tread with caution... It was over a year and half before Charlotte and Josh got the blessings they needed to return to their dream wall.
Josh is repelling and examing the rock in a harness, looking for the best route up.
A table view of all the climbing and route setting gear on the trip
HARD WORK MADE HARDER
Bolting is no easy feat. It’s physical, you’re hanging in a harness all day, and there’s dust everywhere. But it’s also mental, too. You’re playing with the wall in front of you, trying to figure out what line you want to follow and where to put bolts. Take that and add 15,500 feet in elevation and freezing temps, and it makes for an even more challenging formula…
Charlotte working her way up the climbing route wearing the Kor Preshell hoody.
“Not only was finding the right line brain-boggling, the exposure made us think twice before moving around and redirecting the course of a route.”
Josh at camp, holds a banana to the sun while admiring the beauty and charm of the Stronghold Dome tent.
Downward shot of repelling on the wall, investigating the rock to find the best way up.
A RARITY
Not only was it shocking to find such high-quality rock to develop and climb that was easily accessible, they’d expected to find granite walls at that altitude. To their surprise, there was actually a prominence of limestone.
A dog's perspective on the beautiful Andes mountains.
“The rock quality was other-worldly with deep runnels of dark and light grays, similar to the Verdon Gorge in France. We felt both privileged and grateful to be able to be the first people putting our hands on it.”
Charlotte on a rickety old bridge in Peru, layered up in her Super DS Jacket.
“The rock quality was other-worldly with deep runnels of dark and light grays, similar to the Verdon Gorge in France. We felt both privileged and grateful to be able to be the first people putting our hands on it.”
Josh with camera in hand, chasing three alpaca on a dirt road in Peru