Altitude: 12,600-13,776’/3820-4175m; Hiking time: 8 hours; Hiking distance: 9.5 miles; Camp elevation: 11,970’/3627m
After a hearty breakfast, continue the steep ascent. The mountain valley opens up as we approach the Warmiwañusqa Pass (13,776 ft., Dead Woman's Pass), the highest point of the trek, where you can rest and revel with relief knowing you’ve successfully negotiated the most difficult part of the trail. Descend into the Pacamayo River valley where you’ll see a waterfall, creeks, and meadows. Then ascend to the Inca watchtower of Runcurakay. Continue up and over the second high pass (12,628 ft.). The trail descends down an ancient stone stairway into a cloud forest transition zone, and to the fascinating site of Sayacmarca, a compact, expertly-built ancient Inca town that you’ll enjoy exploring. Later, pass through a rock tunnel carved by the Incas and follow the well-engineered trail to the Inca site of Phuyupatamarca (Town Above the Clouds, 11,972 ft.). Campsite is located nearby. Magnificent Mt. Salkantay (20,574 ft.), the principal Apu or sacred mountain of local Indians, dominates the landscape on clear days.