Mountains of Peru

    Reading travel books is my hobby since high school. The "drive" for many of the expeditions undertaken by me was the literature. The beginning of the eighties of the previous century abounded with interesting titles regarding high mountain and yacht expeditions. After reading, first "In the Peru Cordillera", and after several years "Mary through Pacific", I caught a bug of the willingness to see Peru and Pacific islands - Marquesas, Tonga, Samoa or Kiribati.

Hotel Polonia in Lima
Hotel Polonia in Lima
    Without an effort a group from Gliwice has organized themselves being interested in an expedition to Peru in 1987 and conquer several five thousand meters high mountains. The group consisted of, partially belonging to mountain club SKPB "Harnasie", partially to tourist club "Watra", and partially to PZK, such people as "Belfegor", "Borek", "Kulis", "Motacz" and "Wyzelek". From abroad, thanks to secret contacts Lonely Planet guidebooks were brought in. We had problems with precise maps, but we have decided to solve them in Lima. First we planned to go by a ship, in order to transport a Russian second-hand army jeep, but the analysis of time and costs needed for this action resulted in the UAZ being bought by one of the participants, and we went by plane with 60-kg backpacks. For a few months before departure we have been cleaning and painting the high chimney in Gliwice. As each of us worked a full-time job, we were painters only on weekends and afternoons. As usually in those times the problems was getting passports. Thanks to the fact, that we presented the expedition as an official PTTK trip we have managed to overcome even this difficult obstruction - there still was a martial law in Poland!
Pacific beach, where one can loose shoes
Flying with Aeroflot
   The flight was made with Aeroflot airlines - the famous "chicken line" that time. Their name was due to frequently served chicken. In the plane we have at last have had a breath after tiresome preparations. Then having money was not enough - all the articles had to be acquired or organized: beginning with tins, which were not available in shops, to ice-axes, which were produced by outdoor workers. The big, with the capacity of over 300 people plane had several Soviet diplomats on board or "diplomats" and our jolly five. There was enough place for us to sleep in a different place of the plane every few hours.
Modern architecture of Lima
In the embassy of PRL
   After arrival we were living in the "Polonia" hotel, on the last floor, just right under the roof, for a couple of dollars a day, but without any sheets - nevertheless, we had our sleeping bags. The fun began with the reconnaissance of the area. Maps and mountain information we acquired from enthusiasts similar to ourselves from the high mountain club in Lima. Other information were provided by the employees of Polish embassy and Romuald Samsel, a known writer of the Iberian-American topic, who at the same time was on a contract in Peru. Everyone warned us about thievery. As it turned out later, they were completely right.
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas in the center of Lima
Luis Calderon OA4RE
   From the book "Mary through Pacific " I learned about the existence of Luis Calderon OA4RE, who had once provided much help to a known sailor, Ludomir Maczka SP1CVO (VA3CVD). Calderon is an elderly man around his seventies, but very lively and active. He completed his high school in Paris, medical sciences in Berlin, later he worked in the American military mission. We spent more than one evening with him, drinking coffee, listening to many tales, e.g. when he helped the owner of the Minera Raura silver mine, to escape from Tito's Yugoslavia. Thanks to this we got an invitation to acclimate in this particular high mountain mine. By chance, at the same time as we have, a Polish ship "Boleslaw Chrobry" has put in, and it's radio operator was Aleksander SP2EWQ/mm. Having read during the trip the book about "Mary" and the Pacific Ocean, Alek also wanted to meet Luis OA4RE. We almost collided in front of Louis' door.
Army alert has to protect against partizans
SP9FIH/OA4 License and adventure inside the club
   Thanks to Luis' mediation my license from Peru SP9FIH/OA4 was ready after 4 days, despite traditional "maniana" and I could begin transmitting in my time free from mountain preparations. I didn't take the radio with me, as our luggage was big enough, I didn't even have a log for recording contacts. I bought a handbook in a market, and a radio station with a set of antennas was available thanks to Radio Club Peruano. There were even 2 el for 40m. The club was well equipped, also in a set of hard liquors in a bar. Except of Drake TR4 also had several lecture rooms, an auditorium, bar, several rooms with radio stations and a workshop. Something to envy!

   During one of the weekly wassails in the club I met a known DXman OA4OS, whose station once Lucjan SP9VU operated during his stay in Peru worked from. The only problem was that the majority of radio amateurs there doesn't speak English, and my Spanish is very limited. I made about 1000 QSOs from the club. I targeted myself for participation in CQ WW WPX Contest, but unfortunately, someone from the club stole my watch, that I had forgotten to take back. Then I was denied entrance to the club so I wouldn't want my watch back!
Alek SP2EWQ/MM, SP9FIH and Luis OE4RE
and Luis OE4RE on board of "Chrobry"
Acclimation in a silver mine - Minera Raura
   The time to go the Raura mine has come. We went in a overcrowded bus from the TEPSA company, painted with brilliant colors, which looked as if withdrawn from a junk yard. After a while day of traveling, dusty and with signs the altitude disease (a change of altitude from 100m to 4200m above the sea level in just one day), we were taken from the bus stop by a two-persons delegation sent by jeep from the mine. An invisible hand of Luis still was helping us. Despite our headaches, the management of the mine prepared, apart from luxurious rooms for those conditions, also a party, due to which our headaches increased. On the next day we began our exploration of neighboring peaks of up to 5 thousand meters. After a week, we have packed our bags and went through altiplano to the railway station about 100 km from us.
Raura and traveling by Malinowski's railway
   The escapade to altiplano lasted for several days, we met llamas and guanaco, there were condors in the sky, and people ran from before us. Probably they took us for partisans Sendero Luminoso, who weren't used to joking. At the high mountain station Huancayo we entered a train traveling to Lima. The train usually went in the right direction, though sometimes it had to go backwards after changing the switch, as the railway line was climbing a steep side. At last we got through the pass located over 5000m over the sea. The railway, all the overpasses and tunnels were designed by our fellow countryman Bronislaw Malinowski, professor of the Lima university in the end of the XIX century. Nothing strange, that in such condition the timetable is only reference. It was supposed to be nine hours - it actually was twelve. In the outskirts of Lima there was a rain of stone thrown at our cars - it's the youths practicing their precise eyes - he who hits a passenger gets a beer!
Sendero Luminoso
   The Mao partisans let everybody know about themselves every week. In the evenings in Lime we were often reached by shots, or explosions of bomb, that were planted before barracks or parliament buildings. It was even worse in the province. Some mountain areas were completely controlled by the partisans. My colleagues going by bus encountered the previous bus with a shot driver and robbed passengers. There was military in all towns and the police controlled documents of the travelers, abut they had no way to do so on Sendero.
Climbing five thousands in Cordillera Blanca
   After short repacking and resting in Lima we departed for Cordillera Blanca with the intention of scaling several peaks of about 5500m above the sea level. All in all we have managed to climb three such peaks, and Belfegor climbed solo the Tocllarayu. Our climbs were conducted from the base located deep in the Ishinca valley, from where easily with a one day trip one could reach the close-by peaks.
In Polish embassy garden
Hotel "Polonia"
   As I have already mentioned we have lived in Lima in "Polonia" - a small hotel known to all Polish, who visited the capital of Peru. The co owner was of course our fellow countryman, who sailed as a sailor on a ship and on one beautiful day he forgot to get back to his quarters. Instead of sailing, he's started his own mechanical workshop, and then, like in a fairytale he's married a Peruvian and they've bought a hotel, in which a traveler from Poland would get a discount and the last floor.
Artistic thieveries
   For travelers thievery in Peru is a problem. There are many artists in the thieving craft and any moment one might become devoid of any goods. I will describe some of the proven methods. In a bus on the curve several people fall into you, not being able to maintain balance - then you have no wallet or less money in your pockets. On a beach you just for a moment get away from your shoes and trousers and you come back to the hotel only in your swimsuit, with no shoes, on a melted asphalt. At the bus stop you try to watch your bag as well as possible, but then a boy approaches you and says something to you pointing some houses. You turn your sight away for just two seconds and his pal has already stolen your bag with a hook. You leave your luggage in a luggage hatch of a bus and someone has already taken in for you. Artists, really!
Antennas of radio club from the next block
Departure to Arequipa, to Titicaca and Colca Canyon
   After freezing in the snows of the High Cordillera I have parted with my squad and visited the white city of Arequipa famous for it's colonial atmosphere, located at the base if El Misti volcano, I went to look at Indian villages made of reed on the Titicaca Lake and I reached the Colca Canyon, in which Polish were the first to stream-down in pontoons. In Lima it was necessary to visit the museum of gold, roam the streets of Miraflores, swim in the Pacific Ocean and at last make it for the plane, where there were chicken and Soviet diplomats all over again!
Radio Club Peruano
Radio Club Peruano
Silver mine - Minera Raura
Silver mine - Minera Raura
Acclimation in mine's region
Where are we going, Senior?
Trekking on Altiplano
Malinowski's railway
View from Malinowski's railway
Carnival in mountains
Bivouac in Ishinca Valley
We will climb there
Close to top of Nevado Urus - 5495m
UFO on the glacier
Tocllaraju above us
Up all the time to Nevado Ishinca
Nice view from the ridge
Cathedral on Plaza de Armas in Arequipa
Cathedral on Plaza de Armas in Arequipa
Iglesia y Claustros de la Compania
Iglesia y Claustros de la Compania
Monastyr Sta. Catalina
Monasterio de Santa Catalina
Monasterio de Santa Catalina
Monastyr Sta. Catalina
Monasterio de Santa Catalina
Monasterio de Santa Catalina
Part of Santa Catalina
destroyed by earthquake
Puya Raymondi
Puya Raymondi is up to 12m high
Guanako on Altiplano
Guanako on Altiplano
Terraces around Puno
Terraces around Puno
Canyon Colca
Canyon Colca
On canyon sides
Titicaca - 3821m
Reed canoe on Titicaca Lake - 3821m
Trzcinowe wyspy indian Uros na Titicaca
Reed islands of Uros indians on Titicaca
Little market
Incas maybe could make stones soft
Inca stairways
Goodbye lama!
Amateur Radio Awards

Copyright @ - SP9FIH -
All rights reserved
Dxpeditions   | Peru   | Aland   | Marquesas   | Tahiti, Papeete, Australs   | Nepal, Kathmandu   | Tonga   | Bonaire   | SP9FIH Dxpeditions   | Amateur Radio Awards