Good to know for the hike to Vinicunca (the Rainbow Mountain)

If you are participating in the hike to Vinicunca (July 6), the following information may prove helpful as you prepare.

The weather on this very high mountain is unpredictable. Dressing in layers is advisable. Rapid changes in temperature are not uncommon. While it will likely be quite cold when we start the hike, the temperature can increase rapidly, then decrease again just as quickly. Being able to adjust by taking layers off and putting them back on again is advised. Last week the morning temperature was below freezing at our starting point.

Dry-fit fabric is great if you have it. Cotton collects moisture, so if you sweat at all from the climb, that moisture will still be with you when the temperature drops again, and that will be uncomfortable.

Even though it might seem a little counterintuitive, sunscreen is also advisable. We will be there in the dry season, so the sky should be clear and sunlight will be very direct. Because of Peru’s proximity to the equator the sun is much more intense than here in the States.

Vinicunca, the Rainbow Mountain, is a part of the same range as Ausangate (shown in this picture)

Our hike will begin at 14,189 feet (3,399 meters). That’s roughly 1000 feet higher than the next highest point on our trip. If you are concerned about altitude sickness, make sure you are very well hydrated before we start. Proper hydration goes a long way toward staving off altitude sickness. We will end our hike at around 15,000 feet. The peak of Vinicunca is 2000 feet higher, but we will not go that far! Ausangate (shown in the picture) will be visible along our way, and it is even higher than Vinicunca.

I’m looking forward to this trek very much. I hope you are too.