Hiking the Chicon Glacier

I just returned from a grueling hike to Chicon Glacier at an altitude of 4800 meters(15,750 feet). We started in Urubamba which is at 2800 meters and headed up into the valley looking for a trail and a burro. We had hoped to get our backpacks transported to the first ridge as it is a steep ascent. No luck on the burro. A quechua farmer told us about a small cattle trail so we headed up in that direction. It turned out to be a four hour ascent, most of which was finding our own way and straight up the side of the mountain. On the way we saw many hawks and 2 condors flying overhead. I was lucky and was gifted many feathers from the mountain. When we arrived at the ridge we made camp and then hiked up a bit more to decide on our route to the glacier the following morning. The only topographical maps I can find were made by the government during the land reforms many years ago. We were disappointed to find that our intended route was blocked by a precipitous drop that is not on the maps. Feeling a bit discouraged that we would not be able to reach the glacier we headed back to camp and decided to tackle it in the morning. We weathered an extreme storm in the night with thunder, lightning, and hail. Neither of us got much sleep and we woke up very tired. We hit the trail at 7am and crossed over into the next valley, finding a way to get toward the glacier. It was another difficult ascent but we reached the glacier in about 3 hours more. It was an unbelievable sight and was much larger than it appears from a distance. We were hoping to find some crystals and were again given many more gifts from the mountain. You can find them just lying on the ground if you look for them. At that point we thought we were too tired to hike up any more but forced ourselves to go up a bit more to get out onto the glacier itself. It was an incredible experience and I look forward to the next!

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