(This story begins here: The Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit Days 1 & 2)
Day 7 – 1700 meter ascent / 1350 meter decent / xx km / 9 hrs
Very cold night. Am happy to see daylight. Leave at 6.40am, up to Mirador San Antonio by 8am. Wow. Unbelievable. Never imagined would be here to see all this – site of Joe Simpson’s ‘Touching The Void’. Siula Grande spectacular.
On real trail at 9am, make great time on flat. Pack feels very good, like normal hiking weight. Arrive at town of Huayllapa at 1pm expecting 1hr climb to campsite. Push on and on, uphill whole time for 2.5hrs without lunch. Utterly exhausted. Hardest day yet. Zero energy. In bed before dark.
Feet wet & worse. Boots literally falling apart.
Day 8 – 500 meter ascent / 1200 meter decent / xx km / 7.5 hrs
Cold again overnight. Hours awake. On trail at 7am. Push past first pass (Punta Tapuish, 4800m) in good time. Through valley to second (Punta Yaucha, 4840m). Not too steep. Again good time. Finally keeping up with suggested times in guide. Lunch on top. Down lush valley to familiar campsite (Laguna Yahuacocha from day 1).
Somehow easy day. Feel good. Feet same.
Last night feels strange.
Day 9 – 700m ascent / 600m descent / xx km / 4.5 hrs
Good sleep. Out at 7am. 2.5hrs up to Pampa Llamac Pass (4300m), 2hrs down to Llamac. Jeep safe.
Final victory Oreo with bag of chips and cold Coke.
Exhausted & jubilant.