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Climbing Mt. Putucusi

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's almost embarrassing how long it has taken me to write this article, but regardless I have decided to finally get it over with.  Last December while my family was in Peru on vacation we decided to travel to Cusco.  The goal of the trip was to take my grandmother to Machu Picchu since it was more than likely that should would never return to Peru.  Traveling in Cusco during the early months of the rainy season made the trip interesting, as the sun would shine most of the day with the random rain shower throughout the day.

Arriving in Aguas Calientes it was amazing to see just how much the small town had grown since the last time I had been there.  We arrived in Aguas Calientes roughly around 11pm and we were up at Machu Picchu about an hour and a half later.  The weather was awful that day and I had almost given up hope trying to take photos in the rain.  Thankfully the sun god Inti must have heard my prayers as the dark clouds were abruptly pushed away and the mountain was bathed in golden light.  It was the next day (our last day in Aguas Calientes) that my brother Dumenico and I decided to go on a hike in search of a waterfall that everyone had been taking about in town.  About 10 minutes walking along the train tracks, heading roughly in the direction of Machu Picchu we came across a small sign and a clearing.  Our curiosities peaked we decided to take the detour that would eventually take us to the TOP of Mt. Putucusi (Quechua for "Happy Mountain").

The initial part of the trail was rather easy and effortless until we reached what became the first of many vertical wooden ladders, with one as tall as 100 ft.!  Looking up the first ladder that literally seemed to disappear into the vegetation and flora above, I could feel the intimidation begin to set in and thoughts of falling several feet to my death in the middle of the Sacred Valley began to play in mind.  Lured by the Siren's Song of Mt Putucusi, we climbed the environmentally worn ladders one after another to the top until reaching a small rock wall that required the climber to use a secured cable to climb the approximately 15-20 ft. high wall.  At this point we were veterans after having climbed some of the tallest ladders in my life and made the climb rather easily.  It is after the rock wall that we reached the mid point of the mountain, roughly 30 minutes from when we had started.  The vegetation opens up and we were presented with an almost 360 degree view of the valley (at this point the town of Aguas Calientes can be viewed in its entirety).  The last hour consisted of a switchback trail made up of stone steps (moderate difficulty), which becomes rather steep towards the top.  My brother at this point was exhausted and was having difficulty catching his breathe, which caused our pace to slow considerably.  When we finally reached the top our dehydrated (did I mention neither one of us had brought water on this hike, smart I know right?) and overheated bodies were revived by initial drops of rain that would eventually lead to the monsoon amounts of rain we experienced on our way back down.

At the top the climber is rewarded with a truly amazing view of Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu.  The flag of Cusco along with a sign that reads "Mt. Putucusi" - 2,500 meters (8,500 ft.).  While resting on the two large rocks atop the mountain it was evident from all the carvings just how many people had climbed to the top.  We enjoyed the view of Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu as we watched all the buses climb and descend along the switchback road that leads to Machu Picchu.  When the rain began to pickup strength we decided to head back down, a trek which took us about 1 hour to accomplish.  Back in Aguas Calientes we discovered from our conversations with many tourists that Mt. Putucusi was by far a favorite site in the Urubamba river valley.   We even met up with a man who had decided to turn around and head back down the mountain when he was only about 20 minutes from the top, needless to say when we spoke with him his face was full of disappointment after receiving the news.

Mt. Putucusi is a site I would highly recommend to anyone who is deciding to travel to Aguas Calientes in the near future.  For those who are thinking about climbing the mountain I would recommend that you condition for it a little in advance as it can be quite taxing on the body, especially for those who don't hike very often.


1 Responses to Climbing Mt. Putucusi

  1. nichy pal Says:
  2. Wow!

    This is an awesome information and thanks for sharing the useful information.

    The MakeMyTripUAE travels will also provides the tour packages for the places where we can get the mind relaxed and we feel that the place is like heaven and the facilities is also good.


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