Letter to the editor by Nathan Haley about the Huayhuash

H ere at The Huaraz Telegraph we like to hear what our readers have to say, whether it be a comment about the paper, or something about Huaraz. We recently received a letter from Nathan Haley who wanted to raise the issues of the Huayhuash.

Sir,

I fear for the Cordillera Huayhuash, I fear it is going to drown in human waste. A couple of weeks ago I hiked an eight day circuit of that range, an incredible experience in one of the world’s truly special mountain environments. The route has everything any mountain hiker could ever wish for. So why when I talk and write about the experience does it come out negatively? The answer is simple: irresponsible, uneducated and uncaring guides, tour agencies and clients.

Hoards of inexperienced hikers seem to be roaming the Cordillera Huayhuash armed with neither common sense nor basic ideas of outdoor environmental respect. With too few and frighteningly unprofessional guides around to control and educate these tourists the result is disgusting and often times unbelievable behaviour. Would you go to the toilet in your water tank at home? No. Would you crap on your neighbour’s lawn? No. When you make a mess in your home does piling a mound of toilet paper on top of it make the problem disappear? No. So why do people behave like this in the Huayhuash?

Having worked as a hiking guide in Guatemala and faced many of the same problems guides face with clients in the Huayhuash I am surprised and appalled at what’s happening there. As a lead guide, an obvious responsibility is to protect the environment in which you work. Without that environment there is no business and you have no job. It’s not hard to do and is astoundingly obvious. Just maintain some authority, lay down the law on things like toilet practices and share your passion for the environment with your clients. In many respects this is easier than usual for guides in the Huayhuash as campsites are blessed with generally excellent toilet facilities. Here there is no need to be squatting over holes, let alone dribbling your stink down the side of local people’s homes or into the same water your fellow campers hope to brew their coffee from. Inexperienced hikers often need to be toilet trained, but in the Huayhuash they’re being left feral. Unmotivated guides are turning a blind eye to highly inappropriate behaviour that is ultimately upsetting the local communities, natural environment and visiting tourists. When I trekked the circuit in April 2014, the behaviour of some clients being guided by Enjoy Huayhuash had to be seen to be believed.

Worse still for the Huayhuash is that word is getting out. I have spoken to tourists who have decided against hiking there because of the hygiene horror stories they’ve heard. I will not be surprised if clients start drying up for many of the tour agencies operating on the route. My great fear is that we’re entering a vicious cycle in which the more expensive and responsible agencies will die out leaving the cowboys to rule the roost. If this happens then the communities on the route could easily get disillusioned and things could get sticky. The reputation is really getting that bad. Something needs to be done to reign in the terrible and lax practices of some agencies operating the route. They and their clients are ruining it for the rest of us.

Yours,

Nathan Haley (UK)

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

*

Locals question Huanchaco’s 25th spot in South American beach ranking

In a beach ranking which was created by the FlightNetwork team who talked to over 1,200 travel journalists, editors, bloggers […]

BREAKING: Three Spanish mountaineers and Peruvian guide die on Mateo

An expedition counting four Spanish climbers and their mountain guide from Huaraz (Rubén Dario Alva) was hit by surprise and […]

Early seismic movement awakens citizens Ancash coast

A perceptible tremor of 4.6 on the Richter scale awoke many people on the Ancash shore living in Huarmey, Casma, […]

Baby with 12 fingers and 12 toes born in Chimbote hospital

A beautiful baby was born in the Hospital La Caleta in Chimbote on the eve of New Year. However, when […]

Huanchaco Beach in top 50 best beaches of South America

Earlier this week, the Chamber of Tourism of Huanchaco announced to be proud that Huanchaco Beach was chosen among South […]

Visitors are prohibited to take plastic into Huascaran National Park

William Martínez Shiñquin, head of the Huascarán National Park, announced that they have issued a provision that prohibits the entry […]

Local guide shares search details and reveals that Jesse Galganov was last seen in Taullipampa

Earlier this week, the editor of The Huaraz Telegraph spoke with Beto Pinto Toledo, manager and founder of local tourism […]

Meet cebiche de chocho, Huaraz’s hearty food icon

Perhaps one of the most popular local dishes of Huaraz, yet one which is often overlooked by travellers, is cebiche […]

Local newspaper spreads painful fake news on Jesse Galganov

What was announced as a huge scoop on the front page of the Friday morning edition of local newspaper Prensa […]

No visits to Pastoruri Glacier; access road closed until the 29th of December

Jesús López Gómez, head of the Huascarán National Park (SERNANP – Huaraz) informed the press and agencies in Huaraz and […]

Memories of the 76th anniversary of the glacial lake outburst of 1941

In 1941, while Europe was suffering the deadliest military conflict in history in absolute terms of total casualties, Huaraz and […]

Priest involved in US pedophile scandal now preaches in Chimbote

Last night, Cuarto Poder, a journalistic research programme broadcasted on America T.V. (channel 4 in Peru) revealed that a priest […]

Sport Rosario extends contracts and will participate in the Copa Sudamericana

On Sunday the 3rd of December, the last matches for the Clausura Tournament of the Primera División were played and […]

Weather expert warns Huaraz will not be spared from waterlogging

University professor and local meteorologist Rafael Figueroa Tauquino lamented that despite of the warnings realised by the Santiago Antúnez de […]

Traditional System of Corongo’s Water Judges become Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

The Traditional System of Corongo’s Water Judges (Sistema de Jueces de Agua de Corongo) is inscribed on the Representative List […]

Human excrements, plastic bags and remains of food found on Huascarán

The team consisted of eight specialists from the National Research Institute of Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems (INAIGEM) which between August […]

Researchers confirm Huascarán is actually 11 metres lower than previously assumed

Since 1873, nine measurements of the south and north peaks of Huascarán have been made estimating all different heights. The […]

A brief history of Mataraju; Peru´s tallest mountain

Mount Huascarán (in Ancash Quechua language: Mataraju, ‘Twin Nevados’), is a massif located in the Western Cordillera of the Andes, […]