Wayna Picchu (or Huayna Pichu), Peru
The mountain (or Pichu) you see in the back of most of photos of the famous ruin is actually not Machu Pichu, but is Waynu (Huayna) Pichu. The climb to Huayna Picchu is restricted to only 400 people per day in two groups of 200 and the gates open early so if you want to do the climb, it is advised to head to Machu Picchu by sunrise during high tourist season. You fill out a registry at the gate where they let you in and they stagger people to try and prevent crowding on the trail. The climb to the peak takes about an hour for a person of average fitness level and it’s good to get up early as the peak gets crowded. The climb is on a steep rock staircase with great views. There are cables attached to the rock in many places to help the climber and there are places to step aside to catch your breath and enjoy the view. To reach the very top you must climb through a very narrow tunnel through the rock on your hands and knees.
Don’t Look Down!!
Coming down from the top you can go back down the path you climbed or take an alternate route to the great cave (or Moon temple). Doing both the Moon Temple and the peak will take about 3-4 hours in total and it seems very few people do both. The descent down to the great cave has a few ladders involved including one that’s at the bottom of a very narrow cliffside staircase that may be overly frightening for some people. The great cave is quite a bit lower in altitude than the entrance to the Huayna Picchu path so after reaching the great cave, there is another long, tiring ascent. For many, this climb is the highlight of their trip.
- Entrance to the Waynu Pichu Site