Welcome to SP!  -
Conditioning Climb on Pichu Pichu
Trip Report
 
Geography
Parents 
Trip Reports
 

Conditioning Climb on Pichu Pichu

 
Conditioning Climb on Pichu Pichu

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Arequipa, Peru, South America

Lat/Lon: 16.4833°S / 71.25°W

Object Title: Conditioning Climb on Pichu Pichu

Date Climbed/Hiked: Nov 30, 2007

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Spring

 

Page By: Vic Hanson

Created/Edited: Jun 20, 2008 / Jun 28, 2008

Object ID: 413944

Hits: 1475 

Page Score: 71.06%  - 1 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Second Choice for Conditioning Climb

This trip report is part of a climbing trip that we did at the end of 2007. The full report on that is called "Seven Summits – Arequipa, Peru", and can be found here.

We were thinking of trying Volcan Ubinas as a conditioning climb because it is lower, but it had just been erupting so we chose Pichu Pichu instead.

Hard Approach Drive

 
Laguna Salinas
Laguna Salinas


On Friday morning we threw our gear into my 4x4 van and headed for Pichu Pichu. Nathan and I thought we had found a starting point when we were up there the day before, but after checking the information that Smiley had, we realized that we needed to drive around to the other side of the mountain. The approach road leaves Arequipa in the direction of Puno (it is actually the old road to Puno), going between El Misti and Pichu Pichu. Only a few miles out of Arequipa, just past the Misti turnoff, the nice paved road turns into very rough gravel, with lots of holes, rocks and curves. We got past where we had been the previous day and finally arrived at the turn for Laguna Salinas, which is somewhat between Pichu Pichu and Ubinas. There was really no good beta, and what we had was somewhat conflicting, so after looking at the mountain, we decided to chart our own route, going up the south ridge to what looked like the summit. The map showed a jeep road crossing the ridge and that looked like the highest and closest we could drive to the summit.

False Summit

 
The Scramble Up the Ridge
The Scramble Up the Ridge


 
At the Base of Pichu Pichu
At the Base of Pichu Pichu


This whole area is around 14,000 feet or more, and is a very desolate landscape of sand and rocks, with clumps of prickly ichu grass, coral like mounds of green yareta, and some small scrub brush. After a three plus hour drive from Arequipa, we parked alongside the road at 14,900 feet and started the climb at 10:40 am. There wasn't any trail but the surface was firm and easy to walk on, later it turned into more rock hopping but not difficult terrain. I was expecting a relatively easy day, having trained quite a bit and being used to hiking up to 15,000 feet. However between a combination of strength, being younger and energizer bunnyness, Smiley and Nathan kept me chasing them all the way up, in spite of both having severe headaches the whole time. When we arrived at the first peak, we realized that we weren't on the top, so started following the rocky ridge to the true summit.

Success and a Scare

 
View From the Summit of Pichu Pichu
View From the Summit of Pichu Pichu

 
Nathan and Smiley On the Summit
Nathan and Smiley On the Summit
 
Quick Trip Down the Sand
Quick Trip Down the Sand

 
Cross Country Route Back Down
Cross Country Route Back Down




There was a fair amount of third class and some fourth class scrambling on the ridge, as well as a cold wind, but we arrived at the summit at 3:40, five hours after leaving the car. There was no snow at all on the mountain, but with clouds climbing up on one side all the way to Misti, and Ubinas smoking on the other side, the views were otherworldly. Rather than take the ridge back, we dropped off the northeast side from the summit, slid down a sand slope as far as possible, and then angled downhill cross-country for the car.

After the sand slide, we got to some rock strewn bowls where we had lots of rock hopping. Going down into one of these, I either slipped or stepped on a loose rock, and did a face plant in the rocks. Fortunately I was able to almost catch myself with my hands, but did hit a rock with my cheek, which bled inside and outside for a bit, but no serious injury.

The real scare came just before dark when we were getting closer to the van. Smiley was walking behind me and saw a set of keys that had fallen out of a hole in my pocket. They were my house keys, but there wasn't any sign of my car keys, which were on a different ring. After trying to follow our tracks back a ways, with no sight of them, we finally gave up and headed to the van. On the way, I finally thought of checking in my pack lid, and there they were - right where I had put them for safe keeping! We finished in the dark at 7:10, for an 8 1/2 hour climb, and drove back to Arequipa to get a good night's sleep before heading to El Misti the next day.


Images

View From the Summit of Pichu PichuThe Scramble Up the RidgeQuick Trip Down the SandCross Country Route Back DownPichu Pichu from El MistiLaguna SalinasAt the Base of Pichu Pichu
Nathan and Smiley On the Summit

Comments

No comments posted yet.