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Handy Andes by Dave Ferguson

Introduction | Bolivia | Peru | Equador | Essential Info


Of the three countries touched upon here, Peru has probably the most well developed climbing scene. Whether this is due to the fact that it is economically more developed and thus wealthier than the others, or because it is more popular with foreign visitors, I do not know. It also seemed to be a land of crag-rumours. I followed up many leads only to utterly fail to find anything climbable, whether this is because I was sandbagged, stupid or mistranslated I again do not know.

Bouldering at Huaraz


Huaraz is the centre for Peru's mountain sports, with innumerable 5000m+ peaks within spitting distance of the town. There is also a fair bit of established rock climbing and a thousand times more waiting to be opened up. Here are some of the more popular spots:


20 minutes from Huaraz is this poky little crag offering half a dozen worthwhile routes on poorish rock. Sounds good huh? But it is the most popular venue in the area because it is so easy to get to. Take the green buses from Huaraz Plaza de Armas heading to Monterrey. They terminate at the hot baths; get off and hike 5mins up the path to the right of the hotel. The front face has a hideous 6b up the polished crack, and a nice 7b up the face to the left. The back face has a few worthwhile lines up to 6b, and the longer face over the river has a decent 5c (twin cracks) and 6c (eliminate face to right). With the exception of the shiny 6b on the front face all of these are top rope efforts.


This is a fantastic bouldering spot 30mins walk from town. Head N along Luzuriaga, over the bridge and R at the university. Head up this road until it reaches a dirt road cutting across. Turn R then L around the water tank and follow this smaller road for 20mins, through a eucalyptus forest to an aqueduct over the road. From there you can see a load of boulders in the valley. Head down the hill to a stream and the boulders are in a field on the R. The area is popular with excreta-producers so watch where you step. The bouldering is excellent and well used, with a variety of problems on beautiful granite.


This is near Huanchac but very different. A load of boulders lie scattered in the forest, in a fontainebleu-esq kinda way. At the aqueduct turn L and head along a vague path along the ridge. After about 5mins you'll reach the first boulder. These aren't as well used but are generally clean and a great place to hang out and burn yourself, as there are a few tricky little treats if you care to look around.


This place looked (from photos) and sounded amazing: very steep, solid rock, well bolted, routes up to "8c" and just 30 minutes by bus from Huaraz. We spent about 3 hours thrashing around the scrub near Recuay and found a couple of worthwhile boulder problems but no mega-crag. It's out there, I've seen the photos, but where is "there" exactly?


Following our failure at Recuay (and the later theft of my climbing shoes) we did not even bother trying to find Mashuan. Well-bolted… beautiful single pitch walls… 15 minutes by bus from Huaraz…7b upward… it sounded pretty good.

Other stuff

There have been recent forays onto the big, glacier-scoured walls in the valleys near Huascaran. This is purely the domain of the dedicated cranking-tripper but the potential is clearly enormous; not only are there enormous unclimbed walls, but they are easy to get to and afford stunning views. These valleys will surely make Huaraz one of the world's climbing Meccas in years to come. Gear can be hired in Huaraz for not much: rope $2.50, harness $1.50, quickdraws $.50 etc etc. and from a number of places, the best and most helpful being MountClimb just off the main street. The guys in there have been the local driving force behind Cordillera Blanca rock climbing and have lots of photos to tempt you to thrash around hillsides.

Playa de Asia

This is another one of those rumours. Two hours south of Lima is a dusty and extremely hot beach resort town of Asia (a-see-a). Around this town are supposed to be some fantastic boulders, though climbing in that heat would be a superhuman effort. We found absolutely nothing, the place was deserted as people only go there for weekends so all the restaurants, bars and hotels were closed. My spies assured me that boulders do exist and it is awesome.

Introduction | Bolivia | Peru | Equador | Essential Info


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