I'm moving to Peru for a year in February and was wondering if anyone has any info or contacts they can share with me. All the forums seem to discuss the Cordillera Blanca and Huaraz. I'm sure I'll make it up there at some point, but as usual I'm going to be in completely the wrong part of the country. I'll be near Cusco (Urubamba to be exact) in the south east. Any tips for climbing and trekking (i.e. other than the Inca Trail) in that region?
My wife's from Cusco so I had the same problem finding local places to climb when we're over there visiting the family (ie stuff around Cusco rather than the better known sports stuff near Huaraz). Several years ago I did lots of Google searching and found various information. The attached link shows two of the best places:
La Garganta - is near Huayllarcohca village, which is at the end of the Senor de Huerto combi route (which starts at La Mollina market not far from the main bus station in Cusco - and handily about a 5 minute walk from my in laws). The combi is really busy through the city but once it starts climbing towards San Cristobel near Sacyshuaman, it soon empties. Anyway. once at Huay. village, go down the valley on the left hand side (looking back towards Cusco) for 5-10mins. La Garganta is an escarpment hidden in ecalyptus woods up the hill on the right hand side. Just keep searching. Personally, I find it easier to get off at the big bend in the main road just before the village - there's a big layby where they hire out horses for the tourists. At the layby, turn left to face towards Ausengate mountain/Puno and walk for 5 mins over a little hillock to the edge of the escarpment. Then drop round on a vague path that goes to the left then cuts back to the face. You'll know when you've found it - it's a 200ft long escarpment 25ft high with lots of caves etc. The best thing is the steep low level traversing on big holds, much of which is chalked up. See my profile photo for a problem up one of the steep walls (which requires a jump off from reasonably high up). When I was last there a year and a half ago, I met a nice local guy called Alex with a few local and Crudo-helpers. He runs a charity that helps street kids by teaching them to climb. It was great to see him and his team giving some fun to 30+ kids with top ropes on various things. There was also a team of policemen and women practising abbing down one of the faces. The link above says that you may be challenged to leave by the Sacyshuaman park guards. I've never seen any guards or been challenged there before, but would stop immediately if asked to leave. It's a lovely, quiet location and the traversing can be heart and lung busting at that altitude - great training.
The above link also gives you some good information about Pachar, which is a multi pitch sports climbing venue between Urubamba and Ollantaytambo (Ollanta). That will probably be your nearest place if you'll be living in Urubamba. But you'll need to find and hook up with some local climbers from Cusco for the gear etc.
I have found some other places above Cusco as well by using the map in the link above (it took ages to find them). But they're hard to describe and La Garganta is definitely my favoured location for some holiday training.
I would advise that you go with people rather than going on your own. Peru's a great country but La Garganta and nearby areas feel isolated, despite being not that far from communities etc. You do hear of some strange stories and, like anywhere, it's best not to take any risks.
We hope to next go for much of May so I will try to find some locals to take me to do some routes on Pachar.