Grant #416

Canals of Rurec

September 14, 2020

This Rock Star Finds Hidden Heritage High In Peru

Felipe Proaño is a climber and explorer from Ecuador whose adventures in the Andes mountain range inspired his latest quest. He’s dreaming of a large scale archaeological study of the Rurec valley of Peru. Why? He and other rock climbers have spotted hundreds of mysterious structures in the mountains. Felipe and others believe these relics are pre-Hispanic, but how can we know, really, what they are? It’s going to take some serious study. Felipe wants a formal, recognized effort to uncover the secrets: who built these? What were the purposes of these structures?

His plan is to use aerial technology and satellite imagery to aid modern rock climbers to count, measure, and map these structures. Our Awesome Without Borders grant will pay for the permits needed to begin the archaeological exploration in Peru, and to translate the project materials into the local Quechua language so the people who live in the area can understand what’s happening.

Felipe wants them to know that this is their cultural heritage, and that exploring and documenting these vestiges of the past can offer them possibilities for the future. Attracting interest in this Peruvian patrimony might lead to opportunities for sustainable eco-tourism.

It’s a lofty goal! You can find out more about Felipe’s work here.


Category: Community, Culture, Empowerment, Environment, Nature, Preservation



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders