Around 75km from Huaraz, deep in the Cordillera Negra, the part of mountains the tourists usually neglect, lies secret and sacred stone forest of Hatun Machay. It is truly a spectacular place, a one unique valley with countless rocks of various shapes and forms.
Wandering between the rocks, I could well imagine that it used to be a sacred place for the acienct cultures living in this area. The name – Hatun Machay – means in Quechua the Big Cave. And in fact, one of the caves is full of ancient drawings and carvings of animal and alien-looking man. There is actually an ongoing discussion in Huaraz whether a sanctuary like this should be used as a climbing center…
Discussion going on, the amateur and professional climbers are filling the small refuge built recently in the valley. Rocks are indeed a paradise for climbers. Thanks to two Austrian guys, who were so nice to let me use some of their equipment and assecurate me, I could try it myself. The feeling of climbing 35m wall at the height of 4300m is unbelievable!
Apart from rocky adventures, the nearest mountain (4800m) offers stunning views over the whole Cordillera Blanca. I think this part needs no comments, the beauty of the place is anyway impossible to express in words.