Posts Tagged ‘Peru’

We’ve Lost a Good One.

24/05/2020

This post is dedicated to the late Maria Figueroa Norabuena, who I consider the heart of my Peruvian Family. The matriarch, she died recently of complications while in Lima getting medical treatment, and is survived by her husband Daniel, (pictured), a large family of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren mostly in Huaraz, and the surrounding villages, in Peru.  She lived in a small hamlet outside of Huaraz where she and her husband baked bread for many of the townspeople and restaurants in Huaraz. They also grew crops and had farm animals.  My condolences go out to Daniel and his family.

Daniel and Maria

Daniel, and his late wife Maria of Huaraz, Peru

I met Maria through my friend David Sanchez Figueroa, co-owner of the vegetarian Restaurant Salud y Vida, (Health and Life) when I was mountain guiding in Huaraz some years ago. I became godfather to her grandchild Joseph, and have always felt part of the family. It must be a past-life thing but we’ve all been very close over the years of visits.

With the coming of video calling, I was able to keep in close contact with the whole family, and especially with Maria while she was with her daughter in Lima undergoing treatment.  I had the opportunity to spend some screen-time with her before she died and am so grateful for that time. It reminds me, again that life is short.

I have a vivid image, (and a video), in my mind of my wife Amanda, and Maria, playing “Laugh Dancing” in the restaurant’s kitchen. Someone starts a sound track, and the object of the game is partner up with someone, and dance with a straight face. The first one to crack a smile, usually caused by the opponent’s antics, loses. Maria won, hands down. I don’t remember the exact maneuver she pulled, but it had us (all generations of the family) laughing hysterically.

When I first came to Peru as a mountain guide, Maria used to pinch my cheek with her fingers, saying “Que Pena” (“What a pity”) when she learned at my age of 40+, I still had no wife or child. (Since then I’ve been married since 2009 with an eight-year-old son, which made Maria much more happy with me) Every climbing season, when I’d come back into town, she’d give me the pinching, “Que Pena” again, when I was still in the same sorry state.

Becoming a Godfather to her grandchild, Joseph, and seeing what family can really be in Peru, changed me. I grew up as a bit of a narcissist, mountain guiding, single, and although an outdoor educator, still caught up in my seeking the perfect high. A light bulb when off in my heart when I observed what family really means in the indigenous an Latino sense. We had Peru on our short list of destinations of where we were considering having a family, precisely because of that observation.

Maria was a strong woman with a keen sense of self, sense of humour, a huge heart, and a fantastic matriarch who will be missed by her large family, and even… a gringo here in New Zealand.

Since this post, I’ve received this comment from Maria’s grandaughter, Jina (translated from Spanish):

Thank you very much Randall for this publication in tribute to my beloved Grandmother, she was just as you describe her, she left such an imprint on every corner she traveled, she was a woman very loved by all of us who now mourn her sudden departure. You are right, she was in a very delicate treatment that began in January, but on 15.05.2020 her body did not resist.  I still remember every joke she made to me, even one day before her death we joked, and she laughed out loud.  Always her take on life was all joy.
Perhaps you were motivated by her to form your own home, with her phrase, “what a shame”, because she wanted to see everyone with family, family as she had it with my grandfather, who showed that true love exists.
Their advice is recorded in my heart.

I’ll never forget my grandmother. She will always be in my memory and heart.

Huaraz Maria Obit

Near the hamlet in which Maria lived, with the Cordillera Blanca, Peru’s highest mountain range, in the near distance (copyright 2020 Dexter R Richards)

El Albergue grows into Organics/Sustainability

13/12/2014

Joaquín Randall, owner of El Albergue in Ollantaytambo, shares, in the recent video, the latest developments evolving around  experiential educational stays, sustainability, organics and cultural sensitivity at his lodge in the Sacred Valley of Peru.  Mountain Spirit collaborated a bit with Sr. Randall some years ago, so we can recommend a stay at El Albergue. Keep up the good Joaquin.

El Albergue, in Peru delivers a good stay, experientially based ed, and sustainability.

El Albergue, in Peru delivers a good stay, experientially based ed, and sustainability.

12 REGLAS Para Tocar en una Banda

28/04/2014
Band Chimu Inka,  Cusco, Circa 2003

Banda Chimu Inka, Cusco, Circa 2003

1 . Cada uno debe desempeñar la misma pieza .
2. Observar los signos de repetición sólo si lo que acabas de jugar era interesante.
3. Si toca una nota equivocada , mirar a uno de los otros jugadores.
4. La nota correcta , en el momento equivocado , es una nota falsa . ( Y viceversa ).
5. Una nota equivocada , jugó tímidamente , es una nota falsa .
6. Una nota equivocada , interpretada con autoridad, no es más que tu interpretación de la frase .7. Si todo el mundo se perdió, sino que , seguir los que se pierden .
8. Esfuércese siempre para jugar el máximo notas por segundo. Esto intimidará los jugadores más débiles y que ganar la admiración de los ignorantes.
9. Las marcas de ligaduras , dinámica y alteraciones deben ser completamente ignorados. Ellos están allí sólo para poner el mirar más complicado.
10. Si un pasaje es difícil , más despacio. Si es fácil , acelerar . Todo va a igualar a sí misma en el final.
11. Has logrado una verdadera interpretación cuando , al final, no has jugado una nota de la pieza original.
12. Cuando todo el mundo se detiene la reproducción, usted debe parar también . No juegues las notas que pueden haber dejado de nuevo.

Life & Death in the Mountains

16/08/2013

At What Cost?
By R. Richards

Vinton-Boot in Chamonix

Vinton-Boot in Chamonix

If you live in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, and have anything to do with climbing, the name Jamie Vinton-Boot pops up all the time. New hard routes, and lots of them. The other day, the news that he had been killed in an avalanche sent shock waves through the climbing community, right after the sad news that NZ climbers Marty Schmidt and his son Denali had been swept away by an avalanche at a high camp on K2 in the Himalaya. 

Vinton-Boot was a new father who leaves his new baby and wife behind. And the loss of Schmidt and his son are a one-two punch which seems hard to fathom. I was chatting with a checkout person in the grocery store about these losses, and part of her summation was, “At least he was doing something he loved to do.”  Being a new father myself, I’m trying to balance my adventure goals, (not that I’m a cutting edge climber by any means) with the risk involved. My risk, (subject hazards) seems worlds apart from the climbers’ mentioned here. Vinton-Boot had decided to do easier routes since becoming a dad, so states the article below.  Easy terrain for him might be my upper limit, so it all depends on what you’re comfortable with.  It’s the objective hazards that give you the chop, no matter how easy the terrain.  Whether it’s a ski descent or a mixed route, easy or hard, there are those hazards, and if it’s your time to go,  you get the chop.

As the list of friends, mentors, and famous climbers who’ve gotten the chop grows, the whole thing, for me, comes down to making damn sure I’m stacking the deck in favor of being around for my son. There’s simply no reason not to be. Sure, I could get hit by a car, (as the checkout girl added in her summation), but looking for trouble is a different matter. 

Vinton-Boot in Queenstown's Remarkables Range, NZ

Vinton-Boot in Queenstown’s Remarkables Range, NZ

When it comes right down to it, we have to really evaluate what roles and games we’re playing in the world of mountaineering. Are internal peaks and challenges of the family journey not enough? Or what about being very present in the mountains without having to be on the edge (See Mindfulness in the Mountains). What is the measure of a man, a climber, a father?  I’m just saying…it’s time for me to continue to re-evaluate my everyday decisions as if I were on the end of a lead rope. I have people I’m belaying in life: my wife, my son. And that’s a handful in itself, I don’t want to drop that belay, at any cost.  As my mentor and former boss, Willie Prittie said to me in Peru when we were guiding there, “It’s just as important to get down the mountain, (with all your limbs and digits intact), as it is to make the summit. On second thought, it’s more important.”

The following is from an op-ed ..More food for thought:
Climber not at fault: friend
By Paul Hersey, Climber and friend of Jamie Vinton-Boot
Otago Daily Times
Warrington mountaineer Paul Hersey has attended the funerals of many of his mountaineering mates but he will continue to climb.

Mr Hersey (45) said Christchurch climber Jamie Vinton-Boot (30) was a close friend and the pair had climbed together extensively in New Zealand. Mr Vinton-Boot was swept off his feet by snow on Monday when traversing and fell 500m to his death into a Remarkables ravine. Mr Hersey and Mr Vinton-Boot created the climbing documentary One Fine Day on a Mountain, which won a special jury award at the New Zealand Mountain Film Festival this year.

Mr Hersey said the risks to which Mr Vinton-Boot had exposed himself had been exaggerated and conditions at the Remarkables were reasonable for climbing. The avalanche risk was standard for winter mountaineering and not at high or extreme levels, and the ”snow release” was a ”small, isolated pocket”. ”It’s not an avalanche; more a snow sluff, a small release of snow. It can happen a lot when climbing.”

Mr Vinton-Boot was not anchored up because he was traversing to the route, he said. The more difficult a climb, the safer the climb usually was, because more safety gear was used. ”But on a more moderate climb, or approach, you can’t rope up for those situations because it would take forever and you wouldn’t actually get to the climb. In this case, it was walking across a snow slope.”

Mr Vinton-Boot was a safe climber and the wrong message had been attached to his death. ”He’s a really close mate, one of my best mates, and you stick up for your mates and in this instance, he was taking all the reasonable safety steps … Jamie wasn’t doing anything wrong. It just happened.” Mountaineers seek a challenge, not risk, he said. ”But that’s a consequence of the environment sometimes.”

Christchurch mountaineers Marty and Denali Schmidt, who were killed while climbing K2 in Pakistan last month, were also read the rest of this story..

What Gives You Hope?

26/07/2012

Grafton Pond, NH

“The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world. 
Alfred Lord Tennyson

I started Mountain Spirit Institute in 1998 when we led our first trip to Peru, with the basic mission “to facilitate a deeper connection to the natural environment, each other and ourselves.”  Since then it has become ever more apparent how we need “nature time” more than ever. It’s good to see people out on the trail, and in kayaks these days, but National Park use is down in the U.S, and technology competes for the breath of fresh air. We just offered a presentation last night in a small town in New Hampshire called “Get Outside While You Still Can.” The piece below echoes a lot of what we covered in our presentation, and why we started MSI.

 By Eric Utne,
Founder, The Utne Reader

As I’ve said in this column before, I’m afraid it may be too late to avoid the devastating effects of global climate change. (more…)

U.S. Gov’t Returns Stolen Art/Antiquities To Peru

14/07/2012

The United States government on Thursday returned to Peru 14 pre-Columbian and colonial art pieces that had been stolen or looted, according to Radio Programas. “These pieces of art that have been recovered are part of our cultural legacy as a nation but, of course, they belong to all of humanity,” said Harold Forsyth, Peru’s ambassador to Washington D.C.
The objects include nine Cusco-school religious paintings, from the 17th and 18th centuries, that came from Peru’s southern Cusco region, a whistling pot from the, Read the rest of this story…

The Uncontacted Tribe

03/02/2012

The Mashco-Piro

Survival International Releases Photos Of Uncontacted Tribe
From: Andean Air Mail and Peruvian Times

Survival International, the London-based indigenous rights group, has released up-close pictures of a family of the uncontacted Mashco-Piro tribe, known to live in the Manu National Park in in the Amazonian basin in south-east Peru.

The Mashco-Piro are one of about 100 uncontacted tribes in the world, according to Survival. “Today’s photos are the most detailed sightings of uncontacted Indians ever recorded on camera,” Survival says.

Survival says sightings of the Mashco-Piro have increased in recent months. “Many blame illegal logging in and around the park and low flying helicopters from nearby oil and gas projects, for forcibly displacing the Indians from their forest homes,” Survival says.

“But the danger of contacting tribes who choose to remain isolated was reaffirmed by the recent death of an indigenous Matsigenka man,” Survival says. Nicolas “Shaco” Flores had left food and gifts for the Mashco-Piro for some 20 years. However, he was recently killed by one of the tribe’s arrows. “In this tragic incident, the Mashco-Piro have once again expressed their adamant desire to be left alone,” wrote Glenn Shepard, an anthropologist and friend of Flores.

Leave well enough alone

Shephard says in a post on his blog that the Mascho-Piro are likely descendants of the Mashcos people, who in the late 19th century were “massacred and displaced” by Peruvian rubber baron Carlos Fermin Fitzcarrald.  “Surviving Mashcos, including a group speaking a language similar to Piro—hence ‘Mashco-Piro’—abandoned their gardens and fled to the forest, subsisting on game and fruits and vigorously avoiding all contact with outsiders since then,” explains Shephard.

“First contact is always dangerous and frequently fatal – both for the tribe and those attempting to contact them,” says Stephen Corry, Survival’s director. “The Indians’ wish to be left alone should be respected.” Anthropologist Beatriz Huertas says authorities need to implement preventative measures to avoid similar incidents in the future. “Contact could happen at any time,” Huertas was reported as saying.

More about this article here..

Jagger Visits Peru, Talks Environment

18/10/2011

Rolling Stones Front Man Mick Jagger Arrives at Machu Picchu
by Andean Air Mail & PERUVIAN TIMES

British rock star Mick Jagger arrived at the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu on Thursday, as part of a trip to Peru that has included a sit-down with President Ollanta Humala and a visit to an eco-lodge in the jungle region of Madre de Dios.

The front man for the Rolling Stones, Jagger travelled to Machu Picchu by train from Cusco and was expected to climb Huayna Picchu, the picturesque peak that overlooks the ruins, on Friday, state news agency Andina reported. Read the rest of this story..

Indigenous Rights Supported by Peru President

09/09/2011

Humala at Bagua Convention

Humala Signs Prior Consultation Law During Jungle Ceremony
by Andean Air Mail & PERUVIAN TIMES

President Ollanta Humala enacted the prior consultation law on Tuesday during a ceremony in the north jungle town of Bagua.

The bill was unanimously approved by Congress and has been strongly supported by international and national rights organizations. It is intended to ensure that Peru’s local laws are in compliance with the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169.

The convention requires the State to consult indigenous people prior to adopting administrative and legislative measures, as well as investment projects and development plans, that could affect their communities.

“This law has the objective of [promoting] development for native peoples, of the Amazonian communities and the entire region,” Humala said. “That is the spirit of this law.”

“Today we have taken an important step in the construction of a nation, the construction of a republic,” Humala added.

Ex-President Alan Garcia rejected a similar prior consultation bill during his recent term, expressing worries that the legislation would provide veto powers to indigenous communities that could deter mining and energy projects.

Humala and members of his Gana Peru party have said the new law will help address the more than 200 social conflicts in Peru that have impacted projects in the extractive industries.

The president’s signing of the law in Bagua was a clear sign Read the rest of this post…

Gold’s Glitter in Peru

15/08/2011

The surge in the price of gold brings wealth and unrest to Peru.
From Reuters: Katharine Jackson reports

Click Image to see Reuters Video

Also see our earlier post on Barrack Mines in Huaraz, Peru.