SIXPAC MANCO: Travels Among the Incas
Recounts the first ever ascent of Cerro Iccma Ccolla, ‘the widowed Queen,’ overlooking Espiritu Pampa, the ‘Plain of Ghosts,’ site of Vilcabamba the Old, the Incas’ final capital
Sixpac Manco: Travels Among the Incas
My inspiration for and introduction to the fascinating world of Andean archaeology came from reading Gene Savoy’s classic account of his explorations in Peru, Antisuyo, now long out of print. An Alpine mountaineering guide at the time, I had no idea what I might be getting into, but his description of an untrodden peak rising like a gigantic human head from the jungle choked ruins of the Incas’ last refuge was an irresistible challenge.
Together with two climbing friends, I was determined to find and climb Savoy’s mysterious peak. We dubbed ourselves the Sixpack Manco Expedition, set out for Peru and soon found ourselves in the heart of darkest Vilcabamba: dark, because it was then a stronghold of the Sendero Luminous terrorists attempting to overthrow the national government. Nevertheless, we befriended the local campesinos, found our mountain and reached the legendary summit of what the Indians called Iccma Colla, the “Widowed Queen.” This is the story of that first of what would become twenty four Sixpack Manco expeditions.
Originally published in two parts, the second of which is duplicated in Forgotten Vilcabamba, Final Stronghold of the Incas, and thus not included here.
Take a look inside this publication
One final item: What sort of name could best describe our outfit, its unorthodox methods, frivolous mission and credential-less personnel? It was a tough one, the most difficult hurdle yet. In addition to the points previously noted, there was something else we liked about the Incas, another of their traits we readily identified with. They were great beer drinkers. They may, in fact, have lost their empire by drinking chicha when they ought to have been scouting the Spaniards. After much talk about Manco Inca, the rebel who’d founded Vilcabamba, and Tupac Amaru, its last ruler, and just exactly what business we had in such company, we named ourselves Sixpac Manco and left for Peru!