- Pico Bolivar 2009 - Day 02

Los Nevados (2700 masl) - Alto de la Cruz - Pico Espejo (4700 masl)

Text & photo: Marco Trobec   

Several groups...

[DAY 2 / 2009-01-03] Above Los Nevados (3000 masl) / close to pass Alto de la Cruz (4200 masl)

Today, several groups join on the way up from Los Nevados to the pass Alto de la Cruz (4200 masl). From there, our group take a different route towards Pico Espejo and the other continue downhill. Me and Jorge started earlier than the others (they will catch up since they will use the mules for transportation). It's a nice route and easy to walk with several places to fill up with fresh natural drinking water. The locals think it's 'stupid' to not use mules and extra 'stupid' to walk and also carry a small backpack, therefore several people asked me if they should take my backpack and some of them also offered me to sit up on a mule! Very kind, but the best acclimatization is to walk and carry backpack - a bonus to this is all the nice pictures you can take (without the mule movements), easily fill up water when needed and the pure joy of progress with own body work. The time to reach the pass from Los Nevados was 4 hours and 15 minutes (from altitude 2700 masl to 4200 masl, in total 1500 vertical meters). I reached the pass 10 minutes after the ones that used the mules, and I waited for Jorge that was not far behind me. From here we need to get of the main route towards Pico Espejo meanwhile the others continued to descent into the valley (to Mucunutan and further to Merida by car). Darwin (the climbing escort) did not wait for me and Jorge, he just continued without gathering the group or asked if everybody was okay. No information about the surrounding was given - but the view is great. I guess Darwin have done this trip '1000 times' and are very tired to give full service to 'stupid tourists' - perheps this is a sign for Darwin to start with something else to do?!

Gravel and more gravel

[DAY 2 /2009-01-03] On the way towards Pico Espejo

From the pass Alto de la Cruz we turned right and continued our trek to Pico Espejo. Shortly after we turned right from the main route all of us stoped for lunch (a sandwish) at a small plateau and at the same time re-distributed the group equipment since the mules cannot be used anymore. After the re-distribution my backpack weight was around 25 kg. The route is now narrow and full of gravel and sharp rocks, and not clearly marked. The group was spread out since people have different speed, but Darwin took no notice about this except for looking back a few times from a point hundreds of meters in front of the group - from a security perspective this type of 'guiding' is very risky! We all gain som altitude, and I noticed that some of them who used mules are feeling sick due to the altitude. At 18.30 I reached the cable car station at Pico Espejo together with Yayente (fellow trekker), I was carrying her packback since she was ill/had AMS (no help from Darwin except for the last 100 meters). The day trip included 2000 vertical meters during 10 hours (for approx. 15 km including breaks).

A long day is over

[DAY 2 / 2009-01-03] Cable car station at Pico Espejo (4700 masl)

It started snowing during the evening but we could take cover inside the unused and old cable car station (the door was unlocked). The furnitures are still there, and we re-arrange them into small beds. The food served by Darwing this evening was a thin soup (I think I found two small pieces of potato in it) and almost cold tea. This food is not enough, with the today trip in mind, but this was what Darwin had to offer - for sure he will not win any masterchef contest - but I was lucky having my own SWEBARs. Before bedime I walked around and talked to the other ones in the group, check how they feel and if they are in shape for climbing the highest mountain in Venezuela tomorrow. The result was that two of us will stay at Pico Espejo since they have indication of AMS (Accute Mountain Sickness), and me and Jorge will go with Darwin and try to reach the summit of Pico Bolivar.

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