I would love more input if you have anything to add to the above conversation. Basically I am looking for a peak that is a step up from Island Peak (Nepal), and something like the Cable Route (N. Face) of Longs kind of thing. I mean, I am no pro, but I would like something on the more technical side.
There are literally thousands of possiblities.
I was looking at Alpamayo, which was in the $10K range if you add it all up...
Adventure Consultants also charges $5700 to climb Kilimanjaro (for example). In other words, they are an expensive operation. It would be better to find a relaible local guide for less than 1/10 of the cost.
Of course then there is the problem of finding out which guides are reliable. The best strategy would be to ask around on forums (here, Summitpost, Lonely Planet Thorn Tree, ect.) and to check the Lonely Planet and Rough Guides recommendations (Maybe Footprint and Bradt too).
I can personally highly recommend Carlos Zarate and his company (I spent two weeks with his company in 2007), but he climbs mostly down south and around Arequipa, which peaks are very different from the Blanca. Still, he is (or was?) the the president of the Association of Peruvian Mountain guides so it's possible he would be able to recommend one for the Blanca.
If you did want to climb around Arequipa, peaks such as Hualca Hualca or Solimana are more than challenging enough for what you are looking for, but they are very different from the peaks in the Blanca and might not be what you are looking for.
I do know that Basilio Huaranga does have a good reputation in the Blanca. He works for the company below (I am not familiar with the other guides, but if they work for the same company as Huaranga it would seem that they would warrant consideration):http://www.coloniaclimb.com/tourist_guides.php
Their cost (for example) is $565 for Alpamayo/Quitaraja including a private bus ride to and from Lima:http://www.coloniaclimb.com/alpamayo_quitaraju.php
Pyramid Adventures is considered to be one of the best operations for the Blanca (run by the Morales brothers), but are considered to be "expensive" by Peru standards. It appears that their website is having maintainence, but I would contact them:http://www.pyramidadventures.com/english-tours.htm
I would suggest emailing them and discussing possible trips.
Monttrek is another company considered to be reliable and gets good reports, but their iteneraries are more limited:http://www.monttrek.com.pe/mountain.htm#
The hostel at the Casa de Guias in Huaraz has a list of reputable guides for climbing and is considered a reliable source.
Rough Guides (which I have always
found to be a relaible source of information) Peru book also recommends the following operators:
Pablo Tours is also recommended by Rough Guides for trekking, but it doesn't mention how they are with technical climbing.
Of course there are many possibilities, but the above are all recommended by reliable sources so would be a good place to start checking around. Another strategy would be to start checking around once you get there, but you have to have a flexible schedule to do that.
I would check into all these sources/options before dropping $5700 for climbing something like Alpamayo with Adventure Consultants.
I hope this information is useful.
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