Assault at the Los Olivos climbing site

I n the afternoon of Sunday November 29th the official guide Benito Rivera Castillo was savagely attacked by a group of youngsters, while he was rock climbing at the popular Los Olivos site, which is located just outside the town of Huaraz.  The youngsters who were clearly drunk and underage threw rocks at Benito from the upper part of the rock walls, which resulted in various serious injuries on his face, head and ears. Benito had to be hospitalized as a result. His companions helped by some locals managed to arrest the youngsters and brought them to the police station in San Geronimo, where Benito presented an official complaint. However all the youngsters were released without being charged, apparently because the injuries were considered as minor. In an interview Benito said that he believed the youngsters were after his belongings.

It is not the first time that incidents involving the same youngsters have occurred in Los Olivos. These youngsters who can be found most days of the week skipping classes, drinking alcohol and being aggressive at the Los Olivos site have been seen wearing uniforms from the Pedro Pablo Atusparia College in Huaraz. It is obvious that they have chosen Los Olivos due to its remote location, but it is not quite understood why they constantly try to annoy local climbers, who have mentioned that these youngsters who look to be no more than 15 years old, have now been causing trouble at Los Olivos for the last 6 months. It is not the first time either that they have thrown rocks at climbers, luckily the last time it happened no one got injured.

Los Olivos seem to have become the latest hanging spot for youngsters evading school, getting drunk and having sex, as can testify the huge amounts of empty bottles and used condoms found at the site.

Given that the Los Olivos climbing site is extremely popular with local and foreign climbers alike, it is essential and urgent that the local authorities find a solution to the problem. In this effect a document signed by the majority of Huaraz travel agencies, who regularly sell rock climbing tours at Los Olivos to the tourists, has been presented this Monday 7th December at the “Policia de Turismo”, asking them to station some guards to patrol the site daily. Let’s hope that the police will take note and act accordingly. We have some reasons to be hopeful, as Rataquenua, a viewpoint often visited by tourists became a no-go zone because of frequent robberies, but is now once again safe thanks to officials from the tourist police who patrol the site daily. Other entities, such as the AGOEMA guides association and CAWAY club have also presented documents asking for action to be taken.

Meanwhile justice remains to be done for Benito Rivera Castillo, his relatives are still seeking an adequate punishment for those underage delinquents.

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