Climbing in the Cordillera Blanca - part 2

Trip Start Apr 07, 2010
Trip End Jan 19, 2012

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Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, July 4, 2011

We attempted four mountains during our last two outings...and got to the summit of two of them.

▼ Outing #2 - Pisco, Huandoy Oeste, Chopicalqui

June 18, 2011: From Huaraz, we take a collectivo, then a taxi to the Llanganuco Valley. We hike to Pisco Base Camp, then to Moraine Camp (4900m) in about 6 hours.

June 19, 2011: We leave Moraine Camp at 7am for the summit of Pisco (5760 m). Conditions were perfect and we reached the summit without any difficulty. Back at Moraine Camp for the night.

June 20, 2011: Next we will attempt Huandoy Oeste (over 6000 m). From Pisco Moraine Camp, we head up for a camp on the glacier at 5500m. As we skirt the base of Huandoy Norte, we observed several rock falls.

June 21, 2011: Shirley is suffering from altitude and stays at camp all day building a protective snow wall for our tents. Yannick and Kevin go check out the couloir which seams the easiest way up to the Huandoy plateau. After 3 or 4 technical pitches, reaching an altitude of 5700m, they retreat considering the route too unsafe. One more night on the glacier at 5500m. HUANDOY = ABORTED (ROUTE UNSAFE).

June 22, 2011: We head back down to the trailhead, visiting the Pisco hut along the way. After retrieving a cache of food that we hid on the way up, we hitch hike to another trailhead only 5 km up the road, spending the night at Chopicalqui Base Camp (4200m). 

June 23, 2011: We move to Chopicalqui Moraine Camp (4800m) and spend the afternoon resting. It starts snowing on us during the night.

June 24, 2011: Alpine start: we depart camp at around 3 am in calm weather, following a guided party at first. The snow had stopped and there is about 2 cm of fresh snow on the ground. We pass the guided party at around 5 am and reach the ridge (5500 m) at around 6 am. Then the weather slowly deteriotates as we make upward progress. We have to break trail in deep snow, poor visibility, and chilling wind. We can barely see the wands that mark the way. After several steep pitches, we stand in front of a 10m, 80-degree snow wall at 6200m. Yannick leads the pitch and takes a good 5 minutes to catch his breath. Technical climbing is hard work at this altitude. The storm is raging and the snow is like powder sugar. Pickets barely hold in it. A few more meters and we had enough. After 11 hours of climbing we are getting really cold, out of juice, and the snow conditions feel unsafe. Time to retreat. We stopped less than 100m from the summit. Back to Moraine Camp for the night.  CHOPICALQUI = FAILED.

June 25, 2011: Back to trailhead, then to Huaraz.

June 26, 2011: Chill in Huaraz. 

June 27, 2011: Another Chill day in Huaraz. Shopping for our next outing: Huascaran, th big one

▼ Outing #3 - Huascaran Sur (highest peak in Peru, 5th highest in South America)

June 28, 2011: Collectivos to Mancos, then Musho (3050m) at the base of Huascaran. Hike to Huascaran Base Camp (4200m) with 6 days of food.

June 29, 2011: Hike to the Refugio (4675m), then up to Moraine Camp (4800m), then up to Camp 1 (5400m) where we set up camp on the glacier.

June 30, 2011: Hike to Camp 2 (5900m), build a platform and rest for the summit push tomorrow.

July 1, 2011: Alpine start at 2:30am in great weather conditions. We follow tracks from a party that ascended a couple days earlier. There is another party of 3 who is attempting the summit with us. As we are nearing sunrise it gets really cold. We are wearing all of our layers. At around 6400m we are facing a technical pitch. With Kevin on the lead we simul-climb the 55-degree slope, then it is a long slog to the summit of Huascaran Sur (6746 m). Two breaths for each step. We reach the summit just before 9am after 6.5 hours of effort. Then descent to Camp 2 which involved one rappel.

July 2, 2011: We had ambitions to also climb Huascaran Norte (2nd highest peak in Peru), which shares the same camp 2 as Huascaran Sur, but as we wake up at 3:30am for an early start, the weather has changed to wind and snow. We go back to sleep. At 8am, the weather has not improved so we pack up and head down. 8 hours later, we are back in Huaraz for hot shower and delicious food. Night at Jo's Place.

July 3, 2011: Chill day in Huaraz...good food and good movies!

July 4, 2011: Chill day in Huaraz #2...we go buy groceries for our next outing (Alpamayo?)

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