Drip drip drip drip.
That was the sound of the Pastoruri Glacier every second of every minute. It’s a shame that it melting because of global warming. // Eso fue el sonido del glacier Pastoruri cada segundo de cada minuto. Es una pena que todo está derribando por calentamiento global.
I had never though much about global warming before visiting COP20 in December 2014 in Lima, and I had never really believed in it before visiting Pastoruri and seeing it with my own eyes. // No he pensado en eso mucho antes de visitar el COP20 en Lima el diciembre pasado y no he creido en eso antes de conocer a Pastoruri y verlo con mis propios ojos.
The fact is, Pastoruri is melting at a disturbing rate. My friends in Huaraz were telling me about how they used to sled and ski on the glacier, without a worry in the world just 15 years ago. However, now that the area is a national park and tourists can visit, it’s a depressing sight and so different from those 15 years ago. We recently watched a documentary on the melting glaciers worldwide called Chasing Ice. It’s sad to see the effects we humans have on the environment.
Pastoruri is off the beaten path outside of Catac. Get on the highway back to Lima for about 10 minutes, then follow the signs to a rocky road and from there it’s a straight shot up the mountains to Pastoruri. After half an hour or so you’ll come to the entrance, where you have to pay 10 soles per person, unless you’re a local!
There are many things to experience in the park besides the glacier… you’ll see a sulfur spring, a small lake that boasts many colors when the sunshine is just right, fields of Puya Raimondii, cave drawings from pre-Incan civilization, and finally… you reach the parking lot.
You could take a tour departing from Huaraz to get to Pastoruri, or you could pay a local to drive you, like we did. It was much nicer because we were on our own schedules, and could stop for as long as we wanted to.
The hike up to the glacier is free, but the bathrooms are not! (1 sol to use) It took us about 45 minutes, with a few stops here and there to catch our breath. There are horses for rent in case you feel like you can’t make it up on your own.
Honestly, from the parking lot you can’t really see anything (because it’s MELTING!), but once you get to the end of the trail, there it is… all that’s left of the Glacier. It really is a beautiful sight to see that much solid ice that close in person. I’ve never seen anything like it.
There isn’t anything to do once you get to the end of the trail, besides sit and rest, or take pictures. We had fun taking pictures, but for some reason I was totally out of breath and feeling dizzy, so I sat and rested for a while and ate a granola bar. It’s funny how sometimes the altitude affects you, and other times it doesn’t!
We spent maybe 45 minutes up at the glacier taking pictures and talking, then headed downhill back to the parking lot. The hike down was a mere 12 minutes, and we were dodging people and horses on their way up. The park seems to be busier later in the day, so I recommend going in the morning/mid-morning!
There are some places to buy food (soup, popcorn, snacks), drinks, souvenirs, and then bathrooms available for public use. Be prepared to pay outrageous tourist prices for anything you may want. Also, dress warmly, because it was much colder up at the glacier!!! My fingers were numb!
If you’re in the Huaraz area, I recommend going to see Pastoruri Glacier while it’s still there… estimates say that it will be gone within 10 years.
Have you ever visited a glacier??