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 Peak(s):  Ishinca - 18,143 feet
Yanapaccha - 17,913 feet
Tocllaraju - 19,790 feet
 Post Date:  07/18/2013 Modified: 07/22/2013
 Date Climbed:   07/12/2013
 Posted By:  Monster5
 Additional Members:   FireOnTheMountain, boggyb
 An Introduction to the Cordillera Blanca   

An Introduction to the Cordillera Blanca

Ishinca (PD-, 5530 m), Yanapaccha (AD-, 5460 m), Tocllaraju (D, 6032 m)
July 3rd – July 14th

Partners: Michael Davis (boggyb), Abe Rigeb (Fireonthemountain)

Resources:
Brad Johnson’s Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca,
Skyline Adventure’s Topographic Maps of the Cordillera Blanca
Summitpost
Percy Dexter Hendrosa (personal communication on conditions, La Casa De Guias)

Note:
-The Peruvian Sole (S/##) is about a third of the US dollar (US##)
-Let’s just assume the best pics are Boggy’s, the moderate-to-good ones are Abe’s, and the grungy orphans are mine.

Chacraraju


Challenging, rugged, and beautiful. Graceful cornices, forbidding spires, looming seracs, thundering booms, glistening ice, sobering deaths. A whole ‘nother league of mountaineering capable of instilling humility in even the worst of us.

For all that fear-mongering, the range provides access and peaks all abilities may enjoy. A truly unique place.



“The Cordillera Blanca is not a place to learn how to climb.”

Well, sh**.

Despite the admonition, I suppose I’d be lying if I said we had adequately prepared for this trip as a team. Fortunately, we were well practiced at head-scratching inefficiency, needless complexity, and plans drawn up on a 100% recycled napkin stained with organic beet juice.

Our crew contained three. A perfect number for Colorado. An odd man out for Peru.

General Boggs is our de facto leader. The Man with a Plan, sticking to it with stubborn resoluteness. And the most experienced with the international brand of peaks. He points us in the right direction and ensures we aren’t kidnapped by drug cartels en route.

Abe is our noob. The Noob. He hardly makes any more mistakes than the rest of us, but the mistakes he does make are accentuated by the mere coincidence of his nickname. Still, he’s the team’s heart. The Laughing One. Keeps the conversation going when tensions are high. That’s always nice.

Me? Well, I hate to admit it, but I’m likely the nagging Mother. The fun-sized, half Asian with slight IBS. As the icy crux looms, I’m the one reaching for toilet paper while others are brandishing their tools. I consider it a blessing and the blessings are frequent.




Our intended route, Artesonraju via the SE face, was out. Bogged down by an unusually heavy snow year. Avalanche alley. A 12 day trip, four of those used for travel, was all we could wean from the Man. The alternate North Ridge was time-consuming and less appealing to our party. Tack on a spot of poor weather, and we were running around with our chicken heads up on the butcher’s block.

The intended itinerary:

Wed 7/3 – Fly to Lima. Taxi to Movil Tours (station in Los Olivos: Avenida Mendiola – AV. AVENIDA ALFREDO MENDIOLA 3883). Taxi should cost ~$10. Bus leaves the Los Olivos station around 11:30pm.
Thu 7/4 – Bus arrives in Huaraz around 7am. We want to taxi to Casa de Zarela (couple $$$) (JULIO ARGUEDAS 1263 - LA SOLEDAD, PERU Huaraz) and have them keep our stuff for us. Then we will take a minibus to Pashpa if possible, or shuttle to Collon if we can't get to Pashpa. Then we hike to BC (4350m) or camp a little higher (5000m, 2-3h further). Can hire mules ($5/day) and arrieros ($10/day) if desired.
Fri 7/5 – Acclimatization hike or just go for the summit (5530m). If we summit then we may wish to hike up to Toclla ABC (5200m) or a little higher (5300m). Sleep at Ishinca BC or Toclla ABC.
Sat 7/6 – Hike to Toclla ABC or higher. Sleep at Toclla ABC.
Sun 7/7 – Summit Toclla (6032m) (NW Ridge: AD) and hike out to Pashpa. Go back to Huaraz and restock. Sleep at Casa de Zarela.
Mon 7/8 – Take a combi to Caraz (5,00S per person), walk to Paradero Paron near Plaza de Armas, then take a combi to Paron for another 5,00S. Or negotiate to go to the valley entrance for 10,00S per person to save 1 hr hiking. Or spend even more to taxi all the way to Laguna El Paron. Pay 10,00S entrance fee to the community. Optionally hire mules (15,00/d) and drivers (10,00/d) Then hike to at least Timber Camp (4400m?).
Tue 7/9 – Hike to Moraine Camp (5200m?)
Wed 7/10 – Summit Artesonraju (SE face, D+, 800m, 45-55.) or more acclimatization.
Thu 7/11 – Summit Artesonraju and hike out, or just hike out.
Fri 7/12 – Get from Paron to Huaraz or arrange to have transport in the morning.
Sat 7/13 – Transport from Paron or Huaraz to Lima.
Sun 7/14 – Fly to Denver.


Ha.



Day 1 – July 3rd

The most challenging day of the trip. 6:30 AM and we’re bright, cherry, and busy re-packing bags at the airport check in. Stupid weight limits. Makes one yearn to punt a newly-born marmot.

The plane takes us to Miami. We indulge in our last American meal in a couple weeks. In typical fashion, the meal is disgusting. Canned tuna on a soggy bun complete with hot mayonnaise. I’m in love and send $15 down the corporate abyss. The next plane takes us to Lima. I’m sitting in between two overweight men “unaware” that their elbows are hovering over the rests.

Once in Lima, we collect our bags and pass through security. Unlike the USA’s five check/choke points, Lima only has one and we’re through quick, despite the randomized machine sending Abe (borderline Middle Eastern, coincidentally) off to the body cavity searchers.

The taxi ride is oddly calm. None of the accustomed swerving and death-defying, horn-blaring maneuvers. 9PM on a Wednesday. However, the driver is lost and he drives around in a few circles.

We arrive at Movil Tours, only to find the bus is two seats short. Should’ve purchased tickets in advance. We’re determined not to lose time, so Boggy, our most capable Spanish speaker, takes the remaining seat and sleeps the night away headed towards Huaraz (S/ 50), intending to make arrangements and buy gear for the next day. Abe and I grab a hotel (s/35 each) and start walking the streets. Our youthful confidence takes a dive when a gaggle of girls giggle at us when Abe attempts to order a vegetarian burger from a street vendor (S/3). The burger is still fantastic, topped with papas fritas and an arsenal of Ebola-laden sauces.



Day 2 – July 4th

Boggy sleeps at La Casa de Zarelas in comfort while Abe and I wind our ways along the Peruvian highways (S/35 each). We took the economy bus. Drug exchanges, random solicitors, and middle-of-nowhere stops abound. We travel along highways impossibly moored in large sand dunes constantly buffeted by Pacific waves. The road follows dozens of switchbacks over high passes, our bus precariously and precipitously dodging humans, other buses, and semis with skill and a less-than-fatal grace on narrow, two lane mountain roads. Several hours later, we arrive in Huaraz and are promptly gringo-taxed to the hostel (S/16 for the taxi; should’ve been S/4). We are greeted by Zarela’s and Boggy’s laughter at our dwindling funds.

Puffy mittens, jackets, stakes (estackos), rock gear, and fuel are rented for S/2-6 soles per day each. Next time, I'm traveling naked and renting everything down to underpants.

La Casa de Guias gives us the heart-breaking news – southern routes aren’t in. The weather’s still unsettled. The curse of the New Moon. It’ll clear up soon, we hope and ponder over dinner at the Guias’ restaurant (S/90 total). The meal is excellent and the information informational. Certainly makes up for the American tuna crap still plaguing our stomachs.

The bus


The tame section


Reunion



Day 3 – July 5th

We give Zarela our itinerary and plan. Amazingly, she handles the rest. I’m starting to like this place. Our taxi driver, Wilder, is waiting for us immediately after breakfast. The drive to Cocha Pampa goes as smoothly as a Peruvian dirt track goes (S/75, 1.5 hr) and the mules are ready to haul our bags (S/40 for the muleteer, S/20 for each burro or horse (~80 lb,f capacity)). The 3 hr trek to the Ishinca base camp is enjoyable sans packs and the ranger gives us our park passes with hardly a question (S/65 each).

There’s a push here to go the Ecuadorian route and mandate guides for all parties. We tell the guard our sights are solely on the walk-up Ishinca. He probably knows better, but it isn't an issue this time around.





This place is a hazard sort’s fascination, to the annoyance of structural and computer geeks. Glacial Lake Outburst Floods, debris flows, landslides, avalanches, rock fall, and so forth. The ability, means, and history to kill thousands a couple dozen kilometers away in a mere 12 minutes’ time. Fascinating.

We pass our time practicing crevasse rescue, falling on our axes in the midst of cow pies at just over 14K’. The Noob’s first time experiencing the roped hell that is glacier travel. The plan is to have him go first, allowing Boggy and I to do the rope work in the event of a leader crevasse fall. Probably yet another thing we should’ve practiced back in Colorado.

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Day 4 – July 6th

Our time’s running short. Our bus mishaps cost us. No time for an acclimatization hike; up we go. Ishinca it is. A beautiful beginning climb. Just over 18K’, easy glacier travel, a nice loop option, sheltered from the weather, and a stepped-out 45 degree summit pitch.

Cake. If it weren’t for the altitude.

Abe’s never experienced this before. We should’ve taken more time. Headache – Drowsy – Sleepy - Let me rest – Head down – Can’t think. He isn’t happy starting around 17,500’. But he pulls through. Up the left ridge; down the right, towards the Ranrapalca Col. Not so bad now, minus a few cliffs near the well-trodden morainal trail.

Up we go

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And the summit



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Ranrapalca


Down we go





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Ranrapalca


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The dusty trail down to camp is tiring, especially in the moon boots. The weather on Tocclaraju looks pitiful. Strong winds, blizzards, and the like.



Day 5 – July 7th

Our plan is to move to a high camp on Tocllaraju. The weather hardly begs to influence us differently. We stop by the refugio and discuss conditions while Abe eats a slice of cheesecake. A couple parties have abandoned their respective attempts, confirming terrible climbing weather up high. An Argentinian pair remains up high to attempt the West Face. Later, when the storm clears, their bodies will be found prone below a large serac.

After a brief consideration of Ranrapalca, we decide the jump in both elevation and technical difficulty is imprudent. We pack out, utilizing a single burro and carrying the rest on our backs. Our taxi has been stolen, but another is en route and we pass time speaking with a modest British legend. The new plan is to regroup in Huaraz and re-check weather.



The forecasts have been entirely unreliable, but the storms are clearing, according to said unreliable weather forecasts. We eat at El Fogon (S/110), an immensely satisfying affair, before telling Zarela our new plan.



Day 6 – July 8th

Another fairly early wake up sees Wilder driving us to Quebrada Llanganuco (S/170 to Cebolla Pampa, S/250 to km 42). The park rangers let us in after an intense perusal of our passports and American Alpine Cards. I have a feeling he’s just staring at the pretty pictures for show. An REI membership card might just do the trick. Professional, qualified mountaineer status can be purchased for the low price of $40, fortunately.

Another fantastic, bumpy dirt road with just under a million switchbacks. Amidst hail and snow, we pick up another crew. Turns out, one of the girls is a familiar face. Graduate student in my major at the same college. Small world. Wilder drops us off, we hide a duffel and begin the 2 hr trek to basecamp at 15,600 ft.

The weather doesn’t look promising, but we hold out for a clear morning.

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Day 7 – July 9th

Yanapaccha, complete with a 3AM start, is on the agenda. The difficulty of the route varies, but the general sequence consists of a low angle glacier followed by a bergschrund-y moderate packed snow climb 45-60 degrees. AD- conditions. The wind and snow obscured the route and we did a good job taking the longest, most inefficient, yet possible route available. Big looping “S”s. The best sort of route.

This is also the first time we get to practice swapping roped simul leads. Works well, though time-consuming. We did manage to drop one of our precious pickets and scavenge another.





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The summit is a highlight, though a mere high 17er. Works for us. The mountain is ours to enjoy in solitude.







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The descent was tediously slow and just a bit cold. Two 30s and sparse stakes made for 5 rappels with belayed down climbing. We managed to find the dropped picket bridging a bergrschrund, allowing us to leave the scavenged one where we found it. A nice temporary addition to lengthen the pitches. It’s the little things.



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Back at camp around noon and out we go, just about dead. Abe decides he doesn’t like Clif bars and expels his daily meal. That ain’t good. “Out” becomes a necessity borne on putrid wings.

Once we finally manage to drag ourselves out to the road, we find ourselves on the dark side of the clock. No taxis coming and we’re cold, tired, and miserable up at 15K. Boggy is doing well and cooks up some meals during the few hour wait.

Finally, we’re picked up in a family van and careen our way down the rough switchbacks, grinding metal only a few times. 40 minutes of driving, over 20 km, and we’re a mere 0.2 miles straight-line from our starting point., albeit 3000 ft lower at the popular Cebolla Pampa campgrounds (basecamp for Pisco/Huandoy/Chacraraju). We tip the man (S/50 and Abe’s mysterious disappearing sleeping pad) and promptly fall asleep amidst the ever-present cowpies.







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Day 8 – July 10th

Abe’s rough night continues. Must’ve been the water. We’re in no shape to climb and the weather’s still unsettled for our intended backup backup route. The same aspect on Chacraraju has minutes long avalanches streaming down the face. Wouldn’t want to be up there.

On the plus side, it’s my two year anniversary with the lady. American versions aren’t available, but Peruvian knock offs suffice.

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The decision is made. We’re mostly worked. Out to Huaraz via Taxi to Yunguy (~S/70) and collectivo to Huaraz (S/5 per seat).

The trip highlights have gradually become dinnertime in Huaraz. We have yet to be disappointed, minus a Sunday night ushering from Bujos. We’re a bit early to town and it’s still siesta time. In the meanwhile, we pick up a saran wrap 1L bag of banana milkshake. Milkshakes in a bag just aren’t natural.

Rather than wait the extra minutes for El Fogon to open, we decide on Mary’s Cevicheria. We should’ve known Mary wouldn’t treat us well. Our general rule to only eat where the locals eat steers us wrong. The signs were obvious:

1) The restaurant had entrée pictures plastered all over the walls. Good restaurants don’t need cheap prints.

2) It took Abe 10 minutes to not order jugo de naranja. I still don’t know what happened there. For some reason, the server insisted on going downstairs between each person’s drink order and query. It took perhaps 20 minutes and 5 waitress trips downstairs until we were all settled with the good, sugar cane brand of Coca Colas.

3) There was a cat in the ceiling. Calico, maybe.

Midway through our meals, the cat would jump out of the ceiling onto a dining table, onto the floor, conduct cat business, hop back up on the dining table, and then jump back into its hole in the wall. 2/3rds the way through, a cat fight ensued when another cat invaded. The Calico won. Amidst flying fur, Abe and I call it quits on our meals. The General soldiers on, scavenging fish chunks from Abe’s abandoned soup and tearing old crab legs apart with gusto.

Disappointed.

Day 9 – July 11th

We want a 6000 m peak and we want it bad. Sure, we only have two climbing days left. Not a problem. Well, perhaps a bit of a problem.

Another basin and other peaks would be nice, but Tocllaraju is the most feasible. Mules up to the Ishinca Refugio and a steep grunt up to high camp. Early summit and all the way out to Huaraz. It’s feasible and the weather is gorgeous. Zarela has the taxi and mules waiting.

The taxi is a Toyota Corolla. The work horse of Latin America. Held together by duct tape, chicken wire, and grease of unknown origins. Shocks, 4WD, and power windows are a thing of the past. But the thing makes a Hyundai Tucson look like Barbie’s Glam Convertible. A mechanical beast.

The walk to Ishinca BC has an air of trepidation. The ranger is on edge due to the Argentinians’ demise. We can’t fool him with our AAC cards, but he passes us as we tell him the lowly Ishinca is our destination. Again, he knows it’s a lie. Unofficially.

Our muleteer, Daniel, distracts us with a discussion on native plants and their uses, as well as gives us a few brief thoughts on the Quechua people as a whole. We tip the man and part ways.

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The grunt to high camp (just under 17K) takes 3 hrs at a dead man’s pace. A party from Washington/Oregon is on site, as well as a French team. Two girls we met earlier are camped up on the glacier.







Day 10 – July 12th

It’s Boggy’s turn to toss and turn and await a delayed sleep. Altitude’s a tricky beast. Sleeping down in Huaraz (10K) revived Abe but took its toll on Boggy. He’s out and assures us he can get down. It’s 2:30AM.

The day begins in usual fashion. Socks, pants, liners, boots, shirt (brush off the frost), puffies, gaiters, harness, food, crampons, remove harness/grab toilet paper, intermission, harness, rope, coils, prusiks, tools.

And go.

We wind our way along a bootpack. This is nice. Snow bridges, crevasses, shining tent, sparkling snow, village lights, foreboding ridges, headlamps forward. All illuminated by unfamiliar stars. Lonely and beautiful. Our minds awaiting the biological vestiges of altitude and an excuse to turn around.

It never comes and the icy crux looms. I grab my toilet paper.

Abe leads it, running out 100 feet of 8mm static marginally protected on 60-75 degree ice. That was unexpected. But the sticks are solid and the lead confident. A fall would have been the death of us both.



There are three parties on route. It feels crowded; yet, the silence is deafening. The bodies of the Argentinians have yet to be recovered. One of the unfortunate souls is a stone’s throw away in dangerous terrain. Curled into a ball. A mental image not soon forgotten. A reminder of the dangers inherent to a selfish sport. A reminder to give a nod of respect, and also of understanding, to those fallen legends we’ve lost.

The route eases after the icy bergschrund shortcut. A few moderate pitches 45-60 degrees with a few spots threatened by cornice or serac. We switch off frequently. One party turns back and we’re now the last. An unfamiliar position, but expected given our team’s rope work training, or lack thereof.











The summit is ours, if only for the briefest of moments. An unparalleled dopamine rush, slightly molested by deafening booms of fallen glacial debris. It’s time to go.



A time-consuming inefficient rappel convinces us to downclimb the ridge difficulties. Considerably faster. We catch the French team at the bergschrund crux and they kindly let us rappel on their lines (40 m minimum). A few minutes later, we’re out from beneath the seracs, finally able to breathe freely, toasted by the reflected sun. There’s hardly a comfortable spot or time to be had on a glacier.





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Successful and beat, we meet up with Boggy down at the refugio. Three cold Cokes are enjoyed before we begin the long walk out.



Days 11 and 12 consist of bag-packing, hair-raising bus and taxi rides, and the customary delayed flight home. All in all, a successful and highly irregular trip. Lessons taught and challenges at every bend. But now we know. Supposedly. Next year just might be more of the same…



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):


  • Comments or Questions (20)
CarpeDM


appointment TR     2013-07-19 10:09:51
Have only had time to skim it so far, but with those pics and the Monster5 wit, I've got it on the schedule - although I'm a little afraid of getting too many details about what you did to that burro.

* EDIT: Not sure which is better: the photos or the words. Great TR! Congrats on a great trip. And thanks for letting me live vicariously through you for a bit.


USAKeller


So amazing!     2013-07-19 07:08:52
Nice job you guys! This looks so amazing - ”Challenging, rugged, and beautiful. Graceful cornices, forbidding spires, looming seracs, thundering booms, glistening ice, sobering deaths. A whole ‘nother league of mountaineering capable of instilling humility in even the worst of us.”


Brian C


Great!     2013-07-19 08:42:36
Nice photos (I'll read it in full later)!! Looks like you had much better weather than us. Haha. It's nice to see what Yanna and Ishinca look like! Really, really nice job to all 3 of you. You guys rock!

EDIT: Upon a full read this report is even better. Fantastic.


SarahT


Congrats guys!     2013-07-19 08:44:43
Nicely done! I'm drooling...


sstratta


AWESOME!!!     2013-07-19 09:23:25
My favorite part was how you guys learned about the native plants and their uses. obviously. Oh, and I suppose all the pictures of mountains and stuff were cool too (though where are the pictures of the native plants?). Sad about the bodies on Tocllaraju, that might've made me turn around! All in all I'd say it was a successful trip...international trips NEVER go as planned (unless maybe you're guided) but that's part of the fun of it! And I was just kidding before, the pictures are more than cool, they're AMAZING and make me want to go down there!


Presto


Next time I'm traveling naked ...     2013-07-19 09:26:22
And renting everything down to underpants. This is a very entertaining trip report. Great narrative, beautiful photos, and even cost information along with some ”food reviews” (or maybe not so much). What more can one ask for! You've got a great mix of humor and solemn reality ... appreciation and frustration. Thanks for posting. Big congratulations on your success. Happy trails!


Floyd


Nice TR!     2013-07-19 09:48:22
Excellent write-up and congratulations on a successful trip. The pic before the windy road one in the body of a climber overlooking that lake far below is incredible.


AndyJB444


Way to get after it!     2013-07-19 12:08:07
Awesome, awesome, awesome report! Way to make the most of the conditions fellas.

I'm headed down next week - any thoughts on taking an 800 fill jacket instead or in addition to my trusty synthetic down jacket? Overkill? Hard to gauge how cold it truly is higher up in the Blanca.

Cheers!


Furthermore


Very Nice     2013-07-19 17:07:53
Solid effort on some fine peaks. Sweet!


nesiha3


So proud     2013-07-19 17:29:57
Noob is that really YOU on that steep snow lead?? Great job guys, and Ryan I'm psyched that you used abes real name in this TR. :-)


FireOnTheMountain


Fun Read!     2013-07-19 23:09:57
A trip I will never forget with two good homies, thanks for lettin this odd man out tag along!

Your story telling is spot on although I would add the copious amounts of Bebita de Platano we consumed and the fact that you are a Monster (no pun intended) at altitude. The General's badassery, awesome linguistic skills and planning didn't hurt either. Also, just under 1400$ for the 11 day trip (1000$ in airline) is stupid cheap!

ANDY - IMO The 800 is probably overkill for climbing. The synthetic would be better for the climbing and if you feel its warm enough for camp supplemented with other layers I would just take that one. As Ryan alluded to, worse case, just rent, its pretty dang cheap.


doggler


Wow     2013-07-20 17:29:00
Just wow, guys.


Monster5


Thanks for the comments!     2013-07-21 21:44:43
It was certainly a fun trip, despite the logistical complexity. I think our $1400/ea bill could've been lessened a couple hundred with earlier flights. Maybe another $150 or so less with a bit more efficiency (good weather). All in all, a fairly inexpensive (relative) place.

Dave - thanks for the comment! I look forward to seeing an international TR from you too at some point.

USAKeller - congrats on your team's lofty accomplishment this year!

Brian - I'm moving 20 whole minutes closer to Boulder, so I might actually make it out to a few more Flatirons this year.

Sarah S - It isn't very manly to take pictures of flowers and stuff.

Presto - I feel like you're one of the few people who reads nearly every TR word for word and you always have quality, genuine, friendly comments. Best of luck with the continued recovery!

Andy - the big puffy was nice for camp, but it was never worn up high. If we had to bivy, I would have definitely wanted it though. Temps down to maybe 25F with no wind? Your call.

nesiha3 - The noob said the only reason he went on the trip was to try to impress you. Something about hoping you'd change his nickname. I'm not convinced.


dereferenced

3 peaks in 8 days is impressive     2013-07-22 00:05:28
I just got back from Peru, myself, your trip report helped a little with my case of Acute Mountain Withdrawal.

Usually by the end of a trip like this, I feel like travelling across the world is more exhausting than the climbing. Yesterday's travel had two crux sections. The first was listening to an hour of Spanish bingo on the Cruz del Sur bus. The second was after I'd finally fallen asleep on an overnight flight, a fellow passenger nudged me awake at 2 AM to offer me airplane food...

So, I think your team was brave to travel so far for a short trip. Also, you guys are fast and fit, I'm impressed you climbed 3 mountains in that time.

I'm sorry to hear that you didn't get your main objective. Did someone at Casa de Guias tell you there was abnormal avalanche danger? (Or, where did you get that information?)

We were hoping that you'd summit the same day as us and we could high five on the top or something.

I'm not so sure the north ridge was crowded or bootpacked... (was that a joke?) we were there for a week and didn't see any other groups climbing the route, we didn't see a track, and didn't find any fixed gear in place for the rappels.

There were some other groups on Huascaran, but somehow we got lucky and were the only group climbing it, the day we summitted. It seems like there's really only a few crowded peaks in the whole Cordillera Blanca (Alpamayo? Pisco?), and then dozens of mountains you can have to yourself. What an amazing place... I hope to go back again.


Monster5


congrats!     2013-07-22 08:06:13
To you, liam, and the Iman! Yes, poor wording on the North route views and a joke of sorts. It certainly has some appeal and is a fantastic accomplishment what with the movie logo and all. We figured there would be a boot pack and stakes, following on the heels of at least your party. Either way, wouldn't have been a good marry of time and acclimatization.

We heard from several parties that the south route was bad news during our early time frame, including a party whom had camped at the base of it for three days amidst storms. Additionally, we experienced our own deep, soft, and fresh snow on southern aspects. An excuse to go back.

I hear you on the travel. Despite mostly sitting around for hours, it's rather exhausting.


dereferenced

Thanks,     2013-07-22 17:43:32
I was very curious how you guys handled those decisions -- there's no avalanche forecasts in South America, I'm not very smart about this stuff, trying to guess conditions was challenging.

The snow felt safe and compact on the North side of the mountain. It snowed for a few days before we climbed but it didn't really accumulate. The wind was consistently blowing from the East, maybe sometimes Northeast. I'd imagine that Western slopes were getting windloaded, but we didn't have to cross any. Brian said there was a ton of new snow in June, south faces get less sun, it should consolidate less quickly on that side. We had some concerns about climbing the southwest slopes up Huascaran Norte, for similar reasons (but we didn't have enough time/good weather days to try that route).

Sounds like you made a good call to play it safe.


I Man


Beyond Stoked for you guys!     2013-07-25 07:53:05
Wow, what a report and seems like a great trip. I thought of your team often and was hoping to maybe see you on Arteson

I am way impressed by the amount of peaks you got in such a short time. You guys are animals.

I agree with Peter about the North Ridge, the Casa de Guias recommended it as the ´best and most interesting´route on the peak, and we had no fixed anchors, no boot pack and didn´t see a soul. That being said, it did take us 9 days including some weather, so wouldn´t have been a good option for you guys. The fact that you got up another 6,000m D peak on a whim is extremly awesome and impressive.

Cordillera Blanca....NOT a place to learn to climb. Agreed!!

Congrats to Abe for what I am sure will be his first of many big mountain experiences. well done my friend.

Mike - way to share Peru with friends! Sounds like they could not have done it without you

Ryan - amazing writing and a job well done. I hope you can make it down for longer next time 8)


wooderson


late comment     2013-07-25 10:50:02
So this TR has been buried for a while now but I read it when it first came out, never commented, and it's been nagging me ever since. I enjoyed every word and image. You have a great writing style, Ryan... good dry humor, short sentences, to the point yet colorful and full of insight. Good stuff. And the trip was clearly an incredible experience for you all -- congratulations on your successes.


ap snow


Amazing     2013-08-01 11:11:51
Very nice!


colokeith


Enjoyed     2013-11-14 13:13:34
I am strongly considering a trip to this area next summer. Great read and some of the best pictures I have seen of the area!!!

Outstanding job!



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