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ladymorella

Machu Picchu

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Has anyone done any of the multi-day hikes to Machu Pichu? I hope to go there with a friend in about 10 months on the 4 day Inca Trail. I have hiked a bit with a day pack. I feel really nervous about my ability to hike it. The top elevation is 13,800 ft. The highest peak within an hour of me is 9,800 ft. I have hiked La Luz Trail in Albuquerque's Sandia Mountains which is 10,700 or so.

 

A few weeks ago I went to Colorado to clear my head and hike. Inadvertently I think I ended up with a decent test hike. The trail was a climb of 4600ft over 6 miles to a peak at 12,300ft. I did it without issue. Felt great and felt confident about Peru. The next week I did a local trail at home 2300 ft climb over 2.5 miles to a peak elevation of 5,000-7,000 ft and it kicked my butt. It kicked my butt hard so now I am back to being nervous about Machu Pichu.

 

So I'm wondering how to get good practice in before my trip. Colorado was a tougher trail in regard to elevation, but the trail was super smooth. Just a ramp up a mountain for 4,600ft. The one at home is more rough it's a bit more like climbing stairs at times and rocks to slip on. And actually is a higher grade at 16.5% vs Colorado's 14.3% grade.

 

I plan to look more in depth at the trails near me to see if anything can match or get nearer to the grade of 18.8% that the Inca trail has. In the meantime I plan on continuing to hike with a focus on steep climbs. Any tips?

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Hey! 

 

I haven't hiked the Inca Trail yet, but I plan to do so at the end of June. We opted into the 5 day trail instead of the 4 just because we had the time. I don't have any real life experience, but have been reading up about it on a few sites. From what I gather, just keep hiking! More rocky/uneven, the better. And the trail has lots of steps, so anything more stair like. 

 

I am nervous because I live in a very flat part of the arctic. There are a few mountains near by that I have been snowshoeing, but they won't be accessible anymore once the snow melts..which is in about 2 or 3 weeks. 

 

And from what I have heard, training definitely helps - but the ultimate determinant is altitude sickness...which has nothing to do with your physical state. 

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I haven't, but if we ever go back to Peru, my husband and I plan to do this.  Last time, our trip was mostly centered around the Amazon.

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I wouldn't let it daunt you. I know a couple of people who've done that trek and although it's steep and the high points are high, they both managed it with minimal training. One of the two is a friend of mine who isn't particularly fit, and she found the route quite manageable - the only thing she struggled with was the ledges you have to cross on some of the high points, but she just doesn't like heights.

 

I think you're sensible to plan some training hikes, and it might be worth seeing if you can do some training on stairs or a stair machine, but I think you will find you can do this - and from what I've heard it's absolutely incredible. I hope you have an amazing time!

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I did the hike! I am about 20 lbs overweight (if I am generous to myself, haha) and don't have the best knees, and have definitely twisted both my ankles often. I was able to do the hike! It was hard but awesome. 

 

Tips:

 

1) Spend a few days in Cusco to get used to the altitude. Honestly, walking was difficult the first day - constantly out of breath. They recommend at least 2 days. I acclimatized for 3 days before getting on the trail.

2) When on the hike, don't try to keep up with the group if you are getting out of breath. You will only slow down more in the long run. Small steps, slow pace, but steady is the way to go! It is sooooo tempting to speed up because you don't want to be behind, but you are only going to make it worse. So slow and steady rather than fast but stopping to catch your breath is the way to go.

3) Walk in a zigzag. Hopefully your guide will show you - but if they don't take more smaller steps travelling in a zig zag rather than a straight line up the steps.

 

I hope this helps!

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On 9/11/2016 at 1:14 PM, Robot_Monerz said:

1) Spend a few days in Cusco to get used to the altitude. Honestly, walking was difficult the first day - constantly out of breath. They recommend at least 2 days. I acclimatized for 3 days before getting on the trail.

 Cocoa leaves help, too ;) But getting used to the altitude is something else! Walking up the stairs in Cuzco will have you huffing and puffing!

 

Just go and do it. I guarantee you won't be the most out of shape person on the trail, and the experience is totally worth it. I was there last September and would hike the trail if I were to do it again. 

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Wow so many posts now. Thanks for the info. Robot, my biggest worry actually is how the climb happens. I live in Arizona and here when you hike a mountain here the trail is usually ramped up and also has lots of loose dirt and some big rocks 1-2 feet high frequently. I constantly have to find stable ground and judge how slippery the loose dirt is on top. Everywhere else I have hiked, Washington, California, and Colorado hiking isn't a bid deal at all. I think mainly my problem is stability issues. Was the trail itself difficult to walk or was it all elevation? Knowing it has a lot of stairs is helpful. I will have to see where there are training options for that by me.

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I just wanted to bump this thread to say. AHHHH!!!! I am going to Machu Picchu in less than 4 weeks!!!! I am so nervous and excited all at the same time. 

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Well I went on the trip and made it out ok. I wasn't trained as much as I wanted. My knee was pretty upset day half of day 3 and all of day 4, but recovered quickly. I stubbornly did Huayna Picchu after the 4 day trail. It was super steep and my friend and I basically crawled up the stairs at the last 1/3 of the way. Man it was awesome though.

 

Finally I had figured the trail must not be of note since no one noted it. Haha. That assumption was correct. I think Arizona must have the most sandy slippery trails. Everywhere else I go feels so posh. Man there was a TON of stairs. In hindsight I should have just spent a ton of time on the stairs. Hiking wouldn't have helped my training as much as climbing stairs I think. Maybe cause I am more use to hiking than stairs.

 

The trip was definitely worth it though. Hiking in the Andes was amazing. My friend and I just kept commenting "Man, this is crazy! Look at that view." I think the whole trip felt surreal.

 

Odd question though for those of you who have done this before. Does your guide stay with someone in your group pretty much the whole time? I think our guide was with us (or one of us) maybe 50% of the time on the trail. Maybe less. I guess I always assumed the guide with stay with the leader or the last person depending on the situation at hand. I thought in bigger groups you have an assistant that takes up the rear.

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