After a warm up and acclimatization at Lake Parón it was time to explore Laguna 69. To get there you need to hike the trail which takes 5-6 hours. During your 18 km journey you will climb 700m elevation.
We started at the level of 3900m, while the famous lake is located at 4600 m asl.
As we found out from the guide this place was not so known till 5 years ago, when more and more tourists started to come. It might by due to instagram where you can see a lot of charming pictures from this spot.
For the transport and the guide we had to pay 30 soles each. Very reasonable price and we booked through the reception of our hostel. The departure time was set to 5:30 am and after 3 hours we were able to start hiking. In the meantime, we stopped to have some coca leaf tea, which helps with the altitude.
Huascarán National Park
Later, we entered Huascaran National Park (10 soles entry fee), where we soon stopped at the picturesque lake hidden in the mountain valley. At 9 am sharp, we started the hike. As we found out the trail consists of 3 flat parts and 3 sharp ascents. We were walking in our own pace, enjoying the landscapes. We had snow capped, huge peaks towering above us, what an amazing place! The group that we arrive with quickly disparced. Acctually, it felt like we were there all by ourselves.
During the last steep part Mike started to feel not so well due to the altitude sickness.
To put it short and sweet, one can feel like having a terrible hangover. Your had is pounding, no strenght to do anything and occasional nausea. Worst thing to do is to quickly stand up. Dizziness guaranteed.
Maybe 2 days for acclimatization was not enough before this trail or maybe we did not had enought coca leaves. The altitude sickness is more intense during the extensive efforf. Although it was a bit hard, we were bravely walking up and up while breathing heavily. Laguna 69 was so close that we could not stop, at this stage.
The altitude of 4600m a.s.l.
After aproximitly 3 hours of hiking we made it to the maginificent, blue lake. At the foothills of the snowy peak, fed by the melting snow the marvelous Laguna 69 was created. The mountains around are so high that it is hard to fit them in one picture with the lake. Fortunately panoramic pictures came in handy. We were happy to beat our personal altitude record even though the hedache and shallow breath was making everything a bit more difficult. We were very lucky with the weather as well. Sun was shinning directly on the lagoon exposing the spectacular colours. There was still over 2 hours of hiking back ahead of us. Pleased with our pictures we were going lower and lower and the altitude sickness slowly went away.