Postcard from... Peru
Hanging on by my fingernails half-way up a 100ft cliff, this is not the place to be running out of breath. With almost infinite virgin routes, fingertip-shredding volcanic rock, the “Forest of Rocks” at Huayllay, in Peru's central region of Cerro de Pasco, is a rock-climber's paradise.
But situated at just over 13,000ft on the Andean altiplano, Huallay will never attract the droves of climbers who flock to Yorkshire's gritstone cliffs or the granite playground of California's Joshua Tree.
Even without the altitude, Huayllay is not exactly on the tourist trail. The hair-raising seven-hour drive up from Lima guarantees that, unlike at more popular crags, climbers will never have to queue for the best routes.
Peru, of course, has more than its fair share of vertical rock to attract world-class climbers and weekend warriors alike. Yet almost all of it is located high in the Andes. That seriously complicates the weekend ritual familiar to urban climbers around the world: Hit the road out of crowded cities on a Friday night for 48 hours of adrenalin-fuelled, back-country kicks. At Huayllay, two days will not get you even close to being fully acclimatised.
But with a bit of experience, a short climbing trip does become manageable. You might not set any personal records, but there are no shortage of rewards to climbing in Huayllay, including recatching your breath between routes as the tropical sun emerges from the dark clouds to send the mercury rocketing.
Yet none of them quite equal the relief of slipping into the local hot springs after a hard day huffing and puffing up the crags.
- 1 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 2 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
Mohammed Emwazi: Family of man named as 'Jihadi John' described by neighbours as 'normal Muslim family'
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we know about Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
Mohammed Emwazi: Man identified as Isis killer 'Jihadi John' 'stopped by MI5' while on safari holiday in Africa in 2010
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£13000 - £13500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£18000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Long-established Energy Brokers...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...