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Peru: Second Ascent of Mt. Shubet, 1999: A Photo Essay

December 3, 2009

In that year, I had the opportunity to embark on an expedition led by the renowned archeologist (and now mayor of Chachapoyas, Peru) Peter Lerche.  The trip was organized by Paul Beaver, and while there were quite a few of us who participated, the trek involved a unique chance to visit areas of Amazonas seldom seen by outsiders.

Mt. Shubet was a sacred mountain to the Chachapoya culture.  All access to the summit had been blocked by rock barriers, leaving us to scramble to the top as best we could over sheer cliffs, led by Gordon Wiltsie, sometime photographer for National Geographic and a world-class climber in his own right.

In some of the villages we passed through, the locals could barely remember white people having come this way in many years.  Some of the children had never seen gringos before.

I took my son on the trip.  He was 15 years old at the time, and it was his first visit to Peru.  His first comment when we arrived in Chachapoyas, was, “Dad, this looks just like the history books we study in school!”

1) Beginning the trek. Peter Lerche is on the right

1) My son and friend at rest stop along the hike


2) I never cared much for horses but this little guy was fun: Photo by Davarian Hall

3) Old mill used to grind sugar cane for the production of aguardiente (moonshine rum)

4, 5) Climbing from the town of Chillo

6) Ascending nearer the mountain

7) Farmed land and wilderness

8) A fellow trekker

9) The final ascent; we had to use ropes

10) Near the summit

11) My son on the summit.  The cairn is pre-Colombian

12) Sacred wheel or snake figure on the summit.  One thing is certain; the Chachapoyans didn’t want any visitors

13) Yes, that is me, taking my leisure at the summit, 12,500 ft.

14) Roping up for the descent


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