We headed out from Huaraz again, and started up a long and bumpy gravel road to the access point for Vallunaraju. On the way we had to get out of the car and walk at some points, it was a difficult road and at one point stopped to fix a completely flat tire. The driver did really well to get us there! Overall the weather was not looking promising, but we hoped it would improve. Our plan was to climb up to our base camp at 4,945m, and then go for the summit in the morning. The climb up to the base camp was steep and there were a few little scrambles along the way. We did get some glimpses of the beautiful valley below.
On the way up to the base camp it started to rain and then to snow. We were rather damp by the time we got there, and the wind was very cold! We set to work setting up the tent and settled in for the evening. Throughout the afternoon and the rest of the evening, it snowed and it snowed. We had to keep getting up in the night and shake the tent as it was getting so heavily weighed down by the snow.
We set our alarm for 3am and hoped that the weather would improve. It was not the greatest nights sleep given the altitude and the fact that one of the zips on the tent had broken allowing icy breezes through. By 3am it was clear that the weather had not improved enough, and it was not safe to summit. Oh well. It is winter here after all, and that is the mountains for you! I will also have a chance to attempt some other peaks later on in my trip. After all, there are a lot of peaks in the Andes!
On the way down our steep goat path to the road end, the clouds occasionally parted and we got some beautiful views of other peaks and waterfalls on the way. Then it was off back to Huaraz for a whole lot of warm food and a good night of sleep!