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Nevado Ausangate and Montana Colorada
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Friday, 25 May 2018

After a first attempt 2 weeks before, aborted because of bad weather conditions, we are ready to go for a 4 days trek around this 6384m summit : 50 km and 3 passes higher than 5000m !

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To warm us up, we first go to the neighboring Vinicunca mountain, called ‘rainbow mountain’ because of its incredible multicolored layers. it’s totally natural as it is made of sedimentary deposits, once covered by snow and now fully visible thanks to the global warming. This remote Quechua setting has been packed with tourists coming on a day tour from Cuzco since its ‘discovery’ in 2016. As we are smart and don’t like the crowds, we go there at a different time than most of the tours. That’s a great move as we will meet hundreds of people going down on our way up and enjoy a peaceful view once arrived at the top. The landscape is gorgeous, rainbow on one side, glacier on the other side, and a red canyon in between. That will be a small idea of what we will see in the coming days.

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The next day, once our bags packed, we are on our way. We rapidly see that lamas and alpacas are plentiful here, followed by shepherds, running after them, while we are painfully slow at this altitude. Our pride will be to be autonomous, as most of the other trekkers are accompanied by guides and horses : nothing to carry, tent and meal delivered , that looks like luxury to us! And they are not much faster than us... Looking at the horses (under their load of gas bottles and and camping chairs...) they look more like mules. We get to distinguish domesticated camelids : lamas are bigger and more haughty, alpacas are rounder, smaller and a bit more smiley. But both look ridiculous once sheared of.

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The first pass crossed, we have lunch on the shore of an emerald blue laguna, overlooked by a glacier and later we camp on the other side of the glacier. The place is magnificent but at more than 4500m asl, the nights are cold, very cold. The tent is quickly frozen both inside and outside. We won’ t sleep very well, but the regular sunny mornings will make up for it. We spur ourselves with stove melted nutella (the pot got melted too). We cross the other passes easily, still in the middle of lamas, alpacas and few vicunas, circumnavigate around the glacier and along others colored lakes.

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At the end, we are pretty exhausted, but thankfully, there is a hot thermal pool just next to the car waiting for us, where we spend the evening with others trekkers. We deserved it after that walk!

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