Stage 4

3 Jul 2011 - 9 Aug 2011

Lima - Quito

Hot Rock South America 2011
Footsteps of the Incas



Mighty Alpamayo.
The normal route (AD+) is up the R of the face & ridge

Leaving Lima, we embark on the final stage of our Andean Rock tour - to Quito, and the equator.

Our first stop - for 11 days - is Huaraz, the major climbing base of Peru at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca.

Alpinists will be able to go for Alpamayo and Huascaran, amongst many others.

Big wallers will have their eyes set firmly on L'Esfinge (the Sphynx) - Peru's answer to Yosemite, and easily accessible from Huaraz.

The easiest free line up L'Esfinge goes at a mighty 17-pitch 5.11b though it might well be possible to climb a few pitches than then abseil off.


La Esfinge (the Sphinx); big wall options in Huaraz

Bouldering in Huaraz

Or, for mere mortals there is plenty of valley cragging and bouldering around Huaraz itself - not to mention the trekking potential.

Crags such as Monterrey and Chancos for lower grades, Antacocha in the mid range and Huanchac for boulderers will more than occupy us.

Or how about 5 pitches of f6a-6b sport climbing up the 170m wall of Quebrada Llaca? Or 9 trad pitches at 5.11c on the Quebrada Ishinca? Or...

The options in Huaraz are endless and 11 days will be gone in a flash!

Moving north, we first go to historic Cajamarca, where Pizarro ambushed and captured Atahualpa, the Inca emperor. Here, we head to the small limestone crag of El Chipche.

Just 6 routes have been recorded here but as the picture shows, the potential is there for more so it'll be out with the drill as we help the Peruvians develop their crags.



Punta Sal... what a place for a bush camp!

Beyond Cajamarca we stop one night on the beautiful beach at Punta Sal. Here the water is warm all year round, and the 3km sandy beach should be a great venue for our last night in Peru.

The next day we head across the Ecuadorean border.

Inca fans will be able to explore Ingapirca, the best known ruins in Ecuador, or step back in time in Cuenca, site of the second city of the Inca empire (after Cuzco) en route to the climbing at Paute and El Cantilado de St Juan.



El Acantilado de St Juan and Paute between them have over 100 recorded 1-3 pitch sport routes with a short walk ins on excellent volcanic rock.

We have a week to split between these two destinations, though our mountaineers may already be gearing themselves up for another high summit. Cotopaxi or Chimborazo, for example.


El Acantilado de St Juan

Cotopaxi's crater

Cotopaxi, 5897m, has wiped out its neighbouring towns 3 times in the last century. At present, just a few smoking fumaroles are visible within the icy crater.

It is Ecuador's most visited summit and together with Chimborazo, provides excellent and straightforward high altitude mountaineering.

As usual, the costs of these peaks are not included because most people will prefer to rock climb. But they are also fairly minimal - speak to me for more details.

We head now to Quito, yet another south american city with a snow capped backdrop, for the final week of the expedition.

Quito has a wide range of cragging easily accessible from the city centre. For example, Guagua Pinchincha, a small volcano, has 9 sports routes from 6a - 7b; Los Chillos has 14 routes from 5c to 7a; other nearby crags include Sisipangma, Pappalacta and Santa Clara.


Cotopaxi from Quito

Some folk may head to the stressful Galapagos

But Ecuador's prime draw is of course the Galapagos Islands, whose finches inspired Darwin' theory of evolution.

Seals, turtles and of course the finches are easily spotted and tours can easily be arranged in Quito.

Or you could head to Saquisili, a small village which hosts Ecuador's largest Indian market.


Quito also boasts one of the sportiest rafting rivers in South America, the Rio Blanco. The adverts claim 100km of grade 3-4, if it is remotely on that scale it will be a mindblowing day!

Paragliding, hang gliding, salsa lessons, there's no shortage of things to do in Quito itself!


More Quito action

The expedition ends at the equator monument, Quito

Whatever you choose to do, D-Day is the 7th of August, for this is our final night party.

We will head to the Equator monument in downtown Quito (pretending that it is the real equator - they got the line in the wrong place.)

We will have climbed virtually every developed piece of rock along our route; we'll have bouldered, scrambled, climbed and mountaineered our way from the southernmost tip of south america to the equator by way of both oceans!

What a place to celebrate.

We'll party hard, share some memories and some photographs, and then say farewell as we go our separate ways.

If you like what you've just read, check out the dates & prices and get in touch!



South America 2011:


expedition overview

Ushuaia to Santiago

Santiago to Cordoba via Rio

Cordoba to Lima
Lima to Quito

further information
dates and prices

budget planner

joining instructions

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