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Incan Child Sacrifice
The Expedition

A detailed tour through Johan Reinhard's voyage to the Andes

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History and Background | Incan Sacrifice Discoveries | The Ice Maiden | The Expedition | The Inca | The Andes | Johan Reinhard | Maps | More Info

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The summit of Mount Ampato (shown in red at the right) was the final destination of the two mountain climbers that discovered the Ice Maiden.

In September of 1996, Johan Reinhard and his climbing partner Miguel Zarate set out for the summit of Mount Ampato in hopes of viewing the active volcano Mt. Sabancaya in action. They knew it would be a lengthy, even treacherous climb, but they had no idea what else was in store for them, one of the most incredible discoveries yet!


>During the expedition, the climbers were constantly faced with severe weather conditions. Mt. Ampato was covered with ice, and the effects of Sabancaya's eruptions showed themselves through faults, breaks, and demolished stones throughout the mountain. Also, their orientation was affected greatly. Since the altitude they were climbing was thousands of meters above sea level, the air was thin and it was extremely difficult to concentrate.

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>>>Exasperated as well as exausted, the climbers were more than surprised to find a grassy area of the peak littered with various objects: shoes, dolls, pieces of clothing, etc. Although Reinhard had believed that the mountain was too high to be used for religious practices, he was happy to see himself proven wrong!

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>>>As the journey progressed, it became more and more evident to the climbers that the trail they were following had once been the site of Inca rituals. Coming across what looked like a ceremonial platform, Reinhard noticed that other objects may have fallen off the platform.

>>>To discover where they may have landed, he wrapped two stones in yellow cellophane and threw them off the ridge. They were visible, so Reinhard and Zarate began to climb down, keeping the stones in sight. They couldn't believe their eyes when they reached the stones. Insted of a few miscallaneous objects, hidden in the ice was a mummy!

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>>>After having made the incredible discovery of the Ice Mummy (sometimes called Juanita), the climbers were faced with an even greater dilemma: how to get the mummy down? The altitude combined with the mummy's surprising weight and the deadly terrain caused the Reinhard and Zarate much trouble in bringing her down from the mountain.

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>>>The next problem was taking her to a laboratory before she thawed. The nearest lab was in the city of Arequipa, in which worked a close friend of Reinhard. Luckily, the journey was successfully completed and the mummy remains safely frozen to this day.

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