06-Jun-2004 -- The confluence: On the North side of a gently sloping hill on the Altiplano at 4158m, just 1.7kms East of the village of Huayre. Our GPS error was ±8m.
There are some people who like this whole idea and others who think it is a waste of time. You can tell the latter by the blank look on their faces or the acute lack of interest in the “uh-huh”s of their replies. Karl is one of the former. When Cat and I were planning a trip up to Peru to Machu Picchu and the jungle we rang Karl to see could we crash in his place in Lima on the way home, and would he be interested in hunting a confluence point. His enthusiasm over-flowing he instantly started browsing maps and came up with a candidate: 11S 76W. It looked to be near a road on the way to a mine site Karl worked at.
We headed off out of Lima early in the morning. For 2 hours the road climbs almost non-stop winding up through the Andes to the Ticlio pass at a height of 4821m . Once over the pass the road drops down to around 4000m and we cruised across the altiplano. Karl knew the area well and reckoned that the only potential problem would be if the confluence was in a nearby swamp. I reckoned that the major problem would be the altitude.
We were not acclimatized and should we have to walk any distance at all it would be difficult. The altitude had got the better of my confluence-bagging partner, Cat, on our Machu Picchu trip and hence she decided not to risk the trip. As it turned out this one was easy. We followed the main road to the village of Shirau, turned right onto a dirt track that led us to within 300m. A gentle stroll and we were there. We took the obligatory pictures, celebrated and on the way home stopped by the nearby monument to the battle of Junín where on Aug. 6, 1824, Simón Bolívar (the Ché Guevara of his time), aided by Antonio José de Sucre, defeated the Spanish general José Canterac in the first important battle leading to Peruvian independence.