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This panoramic of Hatun Machay – even when enlarged – does not do the place justice.

My friend and I just returned from two nights in a refuge located about 1km away from this forest of rocks. When we arrived, it was snowing. There was no electricity, no cell phone reception, only a wood burning stove and endless beauty. The caretaker for the refuge played guitar and some Peruvian musical pipes to pass the time. It was peaceful and calming; a relaxing escape.

We climbed by day. The routes were bolted, and I had only ever led one climb before. My friend had never climbed in his life. Now, Ive led five routes.

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(Note: Despite the dreads in the above picture, this is not me climbing. This is an Austrian guy we met at the refuge who climbed with us on the second day.)

We played poker and read our books by night. It was one of the most peaceful escapes I have had in a while.

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