There are no mules or burros in the quebrada Parón, but you can pay porters to base camp or even to the moraine camp. The other option is to make carries of equipment, wich can be an excelent aclimatization.
From the place where the mini-bus leaves you (4100 meters), the well marked trail follows the north shore of the laguna Parón. The views are amazing, with the two summits of Pirámide de Garcilazo (5885 and 5700 meters) and the incredible west face of Chacraraju (6112 meters).
After 2 or 3 hours walking, you leave behind the Laguna and reach the usual base camp (4100 meters). Following the trail to the east, after another hour you will reach the tree camp (4300 meters). This is an alternative base camp, more beautiful and protected of the wind.
Then the trail pass over the laguna Artesoncocha, and start climbing a big moraine. In the top is located the moraine camp (4800 meters), at the foot of the Nevados de Caraz and with great views of Artesonraju (6025 meters), Nevados de Parón (5600 meters), Pirámide and the glaciers of Parón.
From the moraine camp you must descend a little and at least enter the glacier of Parón. Then you must cross a big ice plateau, always walking to the east. This zone has no crevasse danger (not necesary to rope-up), but the glacier is near 0ºC, so there is sometimes water under the ice. Be carefull. After 2 or 3 hours from the moraine camp, is the usual location of the high camp (5100 meters), used for climbing the Pirámide, the Nevados de Parón and Artesonraju.
From the high camp, you can see clearly the north ridge of Pirámide de Garcliazo Norte (see pictures below). To reach the ridge, you must first walk to the east. As you ascend, the glacier gradualy becomes a real chaos of crevasses and seracs, and is sometimes dificult to find the route to reach the ridge. Obviously, a rope is absolutely necesary. Once in the ridge itself, there are less crevasses but the inclination becomes stronger (45-50º). A first bergschrund requires a short ice climb (3-4 meters). Then the climbing follows the ridge at 50-55º, and soon there is a second bergschrund. Traverse to the right for crossing it (this can change every year), and start climbing the west side of the ridge, having at your feet the northwest face of the Pirámide Norte. The inclination reaches 60º in this final part, and the ridge becomes more exposed. From the summit there are great views of some of the most beautiful peaks of Cordillera Blanca, like Artesonraju, Alpamayo, Nevados de Parón, and the incredible ridge that connects the two summits of Pirámide de Garcilazo.
4 or 5 rappels are required during the descent, in the more inclined and exposed sections between the first bergschrund and the summit.
60 meter rope. Double ropes are ideal, because they are lighter and completly safe in slopes of 50-60º.
6 or 7 snow stakes, for the climb and having enough material for rapelling in the descent.
Ice screws may not be necesary but is good to carry them for the possibility of an ice step (like those in the bergschrunds) or for making a rescue in a crevasse.
At least the first climber must have two ice axes. For the others it may be enough with one.
Complete high altitude clothes, including a complete cover of gore-tex or equivalent material.
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