I had that question from the moment we landed in Peru.
When we decided to go to Peru which meant of course visiting Machu Picchu, Adam thought that just sightseeing if the 7th wonder isn’t enough and we shall add some spice to our otherwise rather mediocre tourist experience by conquering one of the Machu Picchu peaks. In fact there are only two advanced mountains that only 1200 people a day can climb. First peak is called Machu Picchu itself and it is long, but wide uphill hike. From what we read/heard it takes about 2 hours up and 1 hour back. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Second peak is called Huayna or Wayna Picchu and it is that very pointy mountain that can be spotted on pretty much every photo ever taken on MP. It takes about 30 min to 1 hour to get up and a blink of an eye to get down. Obvious choice, right?! So we thought and booked our slot (you gotta book it early for high season).
The problems started once we came to Peru! I, for some reason, decided to actively google reviews for upcoming hike. BIG MISTAKE! Choice of words people were using to describe their experience ranged from “the most dangerous climb in my life” and “stairs of death” to “how many people die every year hiking Huayna Picchu”.
Thank you all, kind people of the internet. You freaked me out very much. I shall go and reconsider my life choices!
I was nearly crying and begging Adam to give me a second chance in life and cancel the hike. I was quite freaked out because there was apparently a tourist that fell down two hundred meters from the mountain and just by inkas’ gods provision remained unharmed. I was sure I would not be as lucky and for nearly two weeks I was falling from heights of different severity in my dreams. Observing my madness at short proximity my boyfriend decided to save the rest of the trip by granting me generous permission to withdraw from the climb the moment I get frightened which at that point was RIGHT NOW.
Talking to tourists (sometimes just eavesdropping) that have already completed their hike we remained puzzled: some said it was a piece of cake, some sweared they would never do it again due to extreme heights, lack of handrails and presumably agitated tourists with selfie-sticks (which are actually forbidden on MP at the moment). So all the way up to day X we were prepared to say “No, thank you!”
On day X we went to the registration point and entered at around 10am. 30 min later we were staying on top of the mountain a bit unimpressed with level of adrenalin both of us got. And yes, the path is narrow that in some places you have to let descending people pass before continuing. And true, not every place has handrails and to be honest they are not really needed if you are in decent shape and well acclimatised. Also to my disappointment (yeah, let me play cool) I didn’t manage to find a place where it is possible to fall more than 5 meters down.
Overall, if you have a chance to climb Wayna Picchu – DO THAT! Don’t be afraid because it is really not as scary as people think/talk/blog/brag. As long as you are fine with heights and can stand altitude of 2600m or so, you will be 100% fine!