First Time Over 20K'?

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timf
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First Time Over 20K'?

Post by timf »

Lotta variables when spending time and money overseas and so I have a few questions on peak selection for those that have climbed over 20K' or are familiar with these peaks. I've heard on a couple of forums thath Aconcagua while not technical isn't a good first pick to go over 6000m. That's fine by me as having 2 growing kids (one with a significant disability) being away for 3 weeks would be tough to pull off. So here are my criteria and my short list, but welcome to other ideas.

- 5-10 days preferred (5 is really tight on acclimating) but might be able to squeak out 2 weeks
- No ropes needed, but crampons and ice ax are
- minimal-no crevasse hazard (I'm allergic to being eaten by a glacier so think more like Orizaba NOT Denali)
- some place that isn't completely a completely hostile / war torn country (I want to go back to Mexico in Nov for Ixta, but have you seen the recent state dept advisory and the fewer reports this season)
- reasonable logistics and cost (think $5K max, but under $3K would be ideal)

OK so here's my shortlist

1) Parinacota from La Paz and any neighboring shorter peaks for acclimating. Pomerape seems a little too much, but not sure. Sajama requires rope work, but looks amazing. Maybe shoot for Sajama after Parinacota after recovering a few days? Is there any decent place to pick up food and water at Sajama Village? I was thinking stay in La Paz for 2 nights, then 2 nights on Parinacota (trek in short way camp, then high camp at saddle).
2) Mercedario / Ramada certainly higher, but is 7-14 days enough. Parinacota has a much shorter approach.
3) Tupungato

Thoughts on each or any other bright ideas? Any one have these on their radar and want to go?
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jrbren_vt
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Re: First Time Over 20K'?

Post by jrbren_vt »

Stok Kangri in India is my only experience over 20K'. Crevasse hazard was minimal, I think we still roped up for a short section though. Stok Kangri is considered one of the most accessible and easiest 6000 meter peaks in the world. I had a direct flight from Newark to New Delhi, then jet service to Leh. Compare that to flying to Lukla, Nepal. I found it to be quite a cultural experience as well. Took some time to tour New Delhi and monasteries of Ladakh. Ofcourse this would not be much fun in 5 days, I had 3 weeks. Personally for me 2 weeks would be pushing it for 20K feet, but I live at sea level and I am a mediocre arm chair climber at best. I would recommend not getting hung up on the 20K number if you are limited for time, just find a really great hill to climb somewhere. I read Cotopaxi is back in business in Ecuador, that is on my hit list someday.
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Re: First Time Over 20K'?

Post by kevin777r »

I really enjoyed my trip to Ampato in Peru (20,400). Pretty convenient travel wise and doesn't take too long. Hiked Colca Canyon (beautiful) and El Misti (19k) to prep. Something to look at for sure. My other experiences over 20k have been amazing, but would probably violate one of your conditions. Illimani in Bolivia was great and I did that trip in two weeks, but sounds more glaciated than what you're looking for potentially. Also, Kang Yatse in Kashmir wasn't too long of a trip, but Kashmir may be a bit more tumultuous than you're looking for. Let me know if you have any questions about any of those.
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Re: First Time Over 20K'?

Post by mtnjim »

Given your limited time, I think Chimborazo would be the best choice. Very accessible. The only crevasse danger is the saddle between the two summits and if conditions are good, there may not be any there. Since Ecuador is requiring guides, you would likely be on a rope with the guide, but the route really doesn't require one. You could easily do it under $3000, maybe with another peak or two. Cotopaxi's a bit under 20k and there is more crevasse danger but I think it's more fun. I like Cayambe as well but now we're down to 18996. Cayambe feels a lot bigger than Orizaba though it's only 500 feet taller. There's one crevasse just under the summit that's usually negotiable. There are Ecuadoran companies that will package a couple of peaks or more for you so that you won't have to spend any time sorting out arrangements.

JimS
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Conor
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Re: First Time Over 20K'?

Post by Conor »

Have you thought about the cordillera blanca? We have the same goal for this summer and our trip is booked. Planning on 10 days of climbing and plenty buffer time. You can park in the inshinca valley, hit some peaks over 18k to warm up on (day trips from base camp) and then move over to tocllaraju. While there are some technical challenges on toc and it isn't quite 20k, you can always do inshinca and urus and then hop over to copa. https://www.summitpost.org/copa/176295

It doesn't quite meet your requirement for being unroped, but the blanca looks to be relatively inexpensive compared to bigger peaks. No peak fees, no guide requirement, you can stay in town etc. And it can be quick!

Chimborazo would be another option.....
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herdbull
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Re: First Time Over 20K'?

Post by herdbull »

hmmm..... well 5 days for Aconcagua is impossible. 10 days is even tough and even at that you might suffer a day or 2 for gaining too much elevation at once.

Are you stuck to S.A.? Why not Nepal? I guess time would kill you there but things are within your budget and skill level. But you would need more time.
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Re: First Time Over 20K'?

Post by seano »

mtnjim wrote:Given your limited time, I think Chimborazo would be the best choice. Very accessible. The only crevasse danger is the saddle between the two summits and if conditions are good, there may not be any there. Since Ecuador is requiring guides, you would likely be on a rope with the guide, but the route really doesn't require one.
The guide "requirements" in Ecuador are arbitrary. I recently did Cotopaxi, and was shut out of Chimborazo because the park closes at 4:00 PM. Basically, local officials may claim that you must have a guide, but the higher-ups at the Environment Ministry think otherwise. Bring written permission, and be prepared to argue a bit, and you won't need a guide. Chimborazo seems like it would be a good, easy target.
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Re: First Time Over 20K'?

Post by Monster5 »

1. I disagree with Aconcagua being a bad idea for a first time over 20K. Many people with good hiking experience do that. It is non-technical and not too gear intensive, meaning retreat is far easier and expedient than other options of a similar altitude. It relatively isn't very committing either, given the popularity.
2. Getting some high altitude experience, if not over 20K, is a good idea. Travel around Orizaba and Izta is not unusually unsafe using basic judgement. These are incredibly easy and cost-effective options to test your body above 17-18K. Pound water and maintain an easy talking pace while acclimatizing.
3. Boggyb has done Mercedario and might be able to help you. Sounded like a long suncup and talus slog without much water available.
4. Ecuadorian peaks and frequented Cordillera Blanca peaks are generally roped easy glacier affairs similar to or easier than Rainier's standard routes. Besides arguing your way out of a guide, they aren't particularly difficult with a guide and require minimal glacier rescue skills as the guiding style in my experience is unfortunately quite French.
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timf
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Re: First Time Over 20K'?

Post by timf »

herdbull wrote:hmmm..... well 5 days for Aconcagua is impossible. 10 days is even tough and even at that you might suffer a day or 2 for gaining too much elevation at once.

Are you stuck to S.A.? Why not Nepal? I guess time would kill you there but things are within your budget and skill level. But you would need more time.
I eliminated Aconcagua because people average 3 weeks, a luxury I don't have. Aren't flights to Kathmandu a bit more then say La Paz or Mendoza? I'll have to scout it out.
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Re: First Time Over 20K'?

Post by seano »

Monster5 wrote:unfortunately quite French.
So, rude people smoking unfiltered cigarettes after eating incredibly good and cheap bread?
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Re: First Time Over 20K'?

Post by wineguy »

mtnjim wrote:I think Chimborazo would be the best choice. Very accessible.
JimS
Weather is an issue everywhere, but frequent high winds on Chimborazo could significantly reduce the probability of success on that mountain. The construction of the visitor area at the park entrance is a testament to the extreme wind conditions. In June 2015 the guide turned us back less than an hour from the hut because the wind was almost blowing us over. A friend had the same experience last month.
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mtnjim
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Re: First Time Over 20K'?

Post by mtnjim »

When would you be going? My Ecuador trips have been mid December to mid January. Winds aren't a problem then. I haven't been down there in June-July-August when winds seem to be more of a problem. I've been on Chimbo 4 times, usually around a month each trip and so far have not had winds be a factor. This includes Cotopaxi, Illinizas, Cayambe, and the Pichinchas of course.

In general, the time of year you would be going will be a really big factor in choosing a peak.

Also, flights to Lima will be the cheapest. Quito airfares are always more expensive as are flights to La Paz. Kathmandu+Lukla and Delhi+Leh will be quite a bit more expensive and could not reasonably fit into a 10 day trip.
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