Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – Part 2 of 4 Dead Woman’s Pass

This is a continuation of my posts about the Camino Inca to Machu Picchu. The orignal post can be seen here https://curlyadventurer.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/inca-trail-to-machu-picchu-part-1-of-4-2/ or below this post on the blog roll.

After an early rise and an early breakfast of pancakes with manjar blanco and a kind of liquid oatmeal drink, we set off. The oatmeal drink was amazing by the way, some of the people were put off by it, but it was one of the mast satisfying things I had on the whole trail. It was good that we had a great breakfast, because we were in for a ridiculous ascent.

mmmmmanjar blanco
mmmmmanjar blanco

Dead Women’s pass is a dark title for a very intense passage. The many stairs on the trail take a monumental toll on the knees and with each step the altitude is even greater. It is by far the most demanding day. The trail is always beautiful, green everywhere, with mountains immersed in the clouds and the valley stretching ever onwards with each step up. This gives one plenty of excuses to stop for pictures. Of course even if it looked like the bathroom of a subway station, I still would have stopped. Just to catch some wind and eat a snack or chew on even more coca leaves.

Our Guide Percy showing us our quest. The highst point is the pass.
Our Guide Percy showing us our quest. The highst point is the pass.

When I started the Inca trail and saw all the many types of people on the trek, I did not expect it to be that hard. But as our conversation at the top can tell you…”So how was it for the aussies?” “It was the hardest thing I have ever done.” The trail is demanding every step of the way and these steps are definitely some of the most demanding.

Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu 11-5-31 474

Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu 11-5-31 553

Before I set off, my roommate, who was about to leave for England loaned me her walking stick. My initial reaction to this rather lame hiking accessory was to scoff. However, out of respect for her, I brought it with me. Once the ascent started, I was eternally grateful. The extra leverage of the walking stick allowed me to take some weight off my knees and use my arms to lift myself up the really tricky spots. I am sure I would not have needed it as much if I had not been carrying about 15 kg on my back. I often over pack for occasions and the inca trail is definitely not the place to do so. It can lead to a lot of extra pain.

Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu 11-5-31 529

I made a lot of the ascent, but sometimes the descents are even crueler on the legs. This I learned after a flash rain storm at the summit and a rapid ascent down the mountain.

The Summit. I was happy to make it.
The Summit. I was happy to make it.

All that said, it is well worth it. The trail is beautiful and transforms with each change in elevation, you can truly experience the environment in its awesome complexity. A diverse array of climate changes in a very short amount of time is present throughout the experience. It all inspires the sense of adventure and wonder.

Oranges taste really good at nearly 4200 meters.
Oranges taste really good at nearly 4200 meters.

Though it was the hardest day, it was shorter than the third day. We were all thankful for this. We lounged around and ate and rested readying ourselves for day 3. And we were happy to have a long time to rest at camp.

Arrival. The guy sitting down got to camp two hours before us. He was so fast.
Arrival. The guy sitting down got to camp two hours before us. He was so fast.
Camping in the clouds.
Camping in the clouds.
Ahh the cold water relieves the pain in the feet.
Ahh the cold water relieves the pain in the feet.

Friend says, ” I bet you can’t keep your feet in for ten seconds”
I say, “I bet I can for twenty.”

Nooo wait!! The pain is just moving fromo my feet to my face.
Nooo wait!! The pain is just moving fromo my feet to my face.
View of Mt. Veronica not covered in clouds
View of Mt. Veronica not covered in clouds

Stay tuned for day 3, 11 hours of hiking two big passes and the descent our guide called the gringo killer. Also copious amounts of Llama refuse.

2 thoughts on “Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – Part 2 of 4 Dead Woman’s Pass

    1. Wow!!

      Signs from the universe are everywhere as long as you are aware.

      Machu Picchu is amazing. Visiting there was a dream of mne since I was 16, and I finally got to go last year. Let me know if you end up going, I know some hints to make it cooler.

      Keep it savvy

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