Wayna Picchu (Huayna Picchu) – June 11th, 2016
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu
Why This Mountain?
Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu are a must do on many people’s bucket list. In 2015, TJ Hiker led a group (including Tami) to the sacred site via the 4 day Inca Trail through the Andes mountains. It was an amazing trip for the entire group. TJ and Tami decided that Wayna Picchu would be an ideal place to revisit with another TJ Hiker led group and the perfect place to start the journey of 52 Peaks in 52 Weeks. The date to hike Wayna Picchu is June 11th, 2016, which is Tami’s Half-Dome anniversary (Half-Dome is the mountain that changed Tami’s life and each year she tries to do something fantastic in the mountains to celebrate). When Tami learned the date for Wayna Picchu, she convinced TJ it was the perfect sign to start their long dreamed about adventure. Machu Picchu is also a TJ Hiker event that happens each year in May-June and will happen again in 2017. Read and view the great pictures and sign up to join TJ in 2017.
Mountain & Route Facts
Huayna Picchu, Wayna Picchu (hispanicized spellings) or Wayna Pikchu (Quechua wayna young, young man, pikchu pyramid, mountain or prominence with a broad base which ends in sharp peaks, “young peak”) is a mountain in Peru around which the Urubamba River bends. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District. It rises over Machu Picchu, the so-called lost city of the Incas, and divides it into sections. The Incas built a trail up the side of the Huayna Picchu and built temples and terraces on its top. The peak of Huayna Picchu is about 2,720 metres (8,920 ft) above sea level, or about 360 metres (1,180 ft) higher than Machu Picchu.
According to local guides, the top of the mountain was the residence for the high priest and the local virgins. Every morning before sunrise, the high priest with a small group would walk to Machu Picchu to signal the coming of the new day. The Temple of the Moon, one of the three major temples in the Machu Picchu area, is nestled on the side of the mountain and is situated at an elevation lower than Machu Picchu. Adjacent to the Temple of the Moon is the Great Cavern, another sacred temple with fine masonry. The other major local temples in Machu Picchu are the Temple of the Condor, Temple of Three Windows, Principal Temple, “Unfinished Temple”, and the Temple of the Sun, also called the Torreon.
The route to Wayna Picchu will be the 4 day Inca Trail. Located in the Andes mountain range, the trail passes through several types of Andean environments including cloud forest and alpine tundra. Settlements, tunnels, and many Incan ruins are located along the trail before ending the terminus at the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu mountain. After reaching Machu Picchu, there will be a rest and maybe some hot springs in the town of Aqua Calientes. The fifth day will be the ascent of Wayna Picchu which provides the classic photographs of looking down into Machu Picchu.
Historical and Cultural Information
Tucked away in the rocky countryside northwest of Cuzco, Peru, Machu Picchu is believed to have been a royal estate or sacred religious site for Inca leaders, whose civilization was virtually wiped out by Spanish invaders in the 16th century. For hundreds of years, until the American archaeologist Hiram Bingham stumbled upon it in 1911, the abandoned citadel’s existence was a secret known only to peasants living in the region. The site stretches over an impressive 5-mile distance, featuring more than 3,000 stone steps that link its many different levels. Because the site was never discovered by the Spainards, it is believed to be one of the only true historical representations of the once mighty Incan Empire.
Historians believe Machu Picchu was built at the height of the Inca Empire, which dominated western South America in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was abandoned an estimated 100 years after its construction, probably around the time the Spanish began their conquest of the mighty pre-Columbian civilization in the 1530s. There is no evidence that the conquistadors ever attacked or even reached the mountaintop citadel, however; for this reason, some have suggested that the residents’ desertion occurred because of a smallpox epidemic.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983 and designated one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, Machu Picchu is Peru’s most visited attraction and South America’s most famous ruins, welcoming hundreds of thousands of people a year.