Salkantay – Part 2


This is the second part in a five-part series documenting our journey trekking the Salktantay Trek, from Mollepata to Aguas Calientes and eventually reaching Machu Picchu…

Day 2: Mollepata – Soraypamapa

Start: 09:00 – Mollepata (2,850m)
POI: 11:30 – Cruzpata (3,050m)
End: 13:30 – Soray Pampa (3,850m)

Summary: Relatively easy ascent along a grated gravel road. 1,000 meter elevation gain from Mollepata to Soraypampa. Temperatures very hot in the morning as we began from Mollepata, but dropping quickly as we ascended to Soray. Night temperatures were very cold.

Hellish Night! Just after dark the infamous Peruvian bacteria started it’s assault on my stomach. I spent hours racked with violent pains and nausea and could not sleep. Finally around 3:00 AM I vomited violently for about 15 minutes, retched until there was nothing left; my body wrung out and exhausted. Luckily, this was actually some relief and I was able to fall asleep sometime after…

This is how I would begin the first part of our trek: Tired and very weak from the night before. When the sun rose, I could hardly walk. My legs were shaky and my stomach was still very weak. I slept another two hours in the sun before I felt ready to actually attempt a start on the day. There was some talk about going back to Mollepata, spending the night there, and then starting fresh the next day. This was definitely no way to start a 5-day trek with 15 kilos on your back! In the end though, I decided I would at least give it a try.

09:00 – Outside Mollepata: I managed to choke down a few crackers, but that was the only food I could manage. I shakily lifted my heavy pack and we slowly started walking up the road towards Soray. It would be about a six-hour walk in ideal conditions…

First View of Salkantay at Cruzpata

11:30 – Cruzpata: After an exhausting 2 1/2 hour walk in the burning sun, we arrived at Cruzpata, less than half way to Soraypama. A small wooden sign marked the occasion, and around the bend came our first view of Salkantay. The heat was nearly unbearable, I was still incredibly weak, and we were both tired from a mostly sleepless night. We stopped for lunch here at a small hut built along the side of the road (I was able to eat half of an apple). Just at that moment a truck (the first vehicle we had seen all day!) came around the curve. The driver smiled at the two exhausted gringos and made a sign asking if we wanted a ride. In our condition we couldn’t easily refuse!

Arrival at Soray

We found ourselves in the back of a very shaky old truck, bumping along an impossibly rough road literally holding on for our lives. The driver appeared to be in some kind of a hurry and the tight curves and sheer cliffs didn’t seem to deter him. Lena soon became sick, and cling tightly to my arm. After a while, she begged for me to ask the driver to stop and let us off the truck. The truck finally stopped, and I was able to stand up- Just as I was about to yell to the driver, I looked around. I saw a few rough huts, some chickens, pigs, rough-looking mountain people, and looming behind the whole incredible scene: the majestic Salkantay. After a hellish hour and a half ride, we had arrived to the small mountain village of Soray.

Beautiful Salkantay Looming Over the Tiny Village

13:30 – Soraypampa: The village of Soray can hardly be called a village. It’s a collection of small huts, in the valley just before the beginning of the ascent up the pass. Since we had saved ourselves about 4 hours of walking, we were able to spend the rest of the afternoon recovering a little and preparing for the next day. We also used the last of our strength searching a horse and a driver to bring our packs up the pass the next morning. We found a wobbly, glassy-eyed old man who agreed to take us for 50 soles and quickly went to bed.

CONTINUE TO: Day 3 – Soraypampa, Abra Salkantay, Huaracmachay, Chaullay

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7 Comments on "Salkantay – Part 2"

  1. avatar
    17/12/2010 at 02:29 Permalink

    Clean Water is Important:
    Fill an empty water bottle with any water that is not too murky. Place bottle in full sun, atop a metal surface if possible. Leave it there for 6 hours undisturbed. The UVA radiation will kill viruses, bacteria, and parasites in water, leaving it safe to drink.
    In foreign countries it is often that locals will refill water bottles with tap water and sell it. This is a possibility if the seal of the bottle you purchased is broken.
    If you can find a PET plastic bottle, this is best and a handy bottle to keep around to reuse! (info absorbed via Nat Geo)

    It is good to see and hear you two are enjoying this beautiful Earth. Even better knowing your health is at it’s optimum. Be safe and have good.

  2. avatar
    17/12/2010 at 09:46 Permalink

    Yeah, we have a ‘SteriPen’ which cleans water with UV-a. It’s the best investment I made before coming here! Beats swallowing Iodine or Chlor and saves a hell of a lot of plastic bottles… Highly recommended inventment for anyone traveling to a coutry with questionable water sources.

  3. avatar
    Ryan Cheresson
    15/01/2012 at 14:35 Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    Wonderful travel log!

    Curious when you made this trek? We are in the middle of planning our own hike to Mach Picchu and are trying to figure out timing. I understand that February and March is the height of the rainy season and can make it difficult to navigate.



  4. avatar
    17/01/2012 at 09:15 Permalink

    Hi Ryan-

    We made the Trek in November, so basically the beginning of the Rainy Season… Things were not too bad, some muddy sections and slippery rocks but nothing major. I would imagine it could be worse in February ater a few months of rain though. Still, the trail was surprisingly well laid out and kept-up so I’d imagine it would still be do-able with proper preparations.



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