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Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

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Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby ywardhorner » Sat May 12, 2012 11:29 pm

We're heading that way next month and just wondering if there's any current beta out there.

Thanks!
Yvette
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby lcarreau » Sun May 13, 2012 4:07 am

No, but I've been to the Copa Cabana ..

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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby ywardhorner » Sun May 13, 2012 5:27 pm

well, that's ~almost~ the same thing . . . .
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby rgg » Sun May 13, 2012 7:59 pm

Last year, near the end of my stay in the Cordillera Blanca, I considered having a go at it, in combination with Hualcán perhaps, and so I asked around in Huaraz about the conditions up there.

I had met climbers that knew other climbers that thought about going there. And I talked to some of the local guides, who keep each other informed quite well. Yet I didn't find anyone who actually climbed it last year, so I only got second hand info.

I learned that, while it wasn't a difficult climb, not many go there. Why, I can only guess, but that implied I shouldn't count on finding a trail to follow.
Gaining access to the glacier was apparently getting more difficult over the years. Whether that was because there simply is no easy way anymore, or whether it was just harder to find one, I'm not sure. And I was warned that the glacier itself would have a lot of crevasses. In the end, all these uncertainties contributed to the decision to go climb another peak instead, one with a lot more beta.

Good luck on your climb,
Rob
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby CClaude » Tue May 15, 2012 1:53 am

My beta is 15 years old since I did it in the 1990's.

You can easily do it in 3 days Huarez-Huarez, If you do it in 2 days (also reasonable but expect the second day to be long). The approach to the reservoir/hut is reasonably long but on the standards for the Cordillera Blanca really easy.

The crux of the route is finding your way through the crevasses, that is true. It only affects really the first 2 little sections (maybe 1/4 of the route). The rest of the route had some crevasses, but no where near as the first sections. I had slept one night at the hut/ then went up and made camp on the mountain itself, and then summited and hiked down the third day. If I was going to do it again, I'd have just left the camp at the hut near the reservoir.

Look up my profile and I do have a page on it. The route you'll probably use is rated PD, and I'd agree with the rating. Some one berated me on the page saying that they had a really difficult time, and outside of the crevasses, its really easy. If you want another good resource, check Brad Johnsons book on Peru. It appears the trail has been improved since I was there (they were logging the area around Vicos when I was there which made the lower section of the approach trail a b$#@% for me) and he gives better beta on the updated approach.

Have fun
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby ywardhorner » Wed May 16, 2012 3:27 pm

Appreciate the info, guys. Main reasons we want to climb it are that it sounds fairly easy and not many people go there. We like to avoid crowds.
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby sharperblue » Wed May 16, 2012 6:18 pm

yward; no - haven't climbed it - but by all accounts it's quite straightforward by its standard routes - I'm sure you've checked the Johnson book beta and especially the Sharman book.

I'm told that the snowfall this past summer was much less than the epic dump of last season, so conditions will hopefully be more 'normal' in the Blanca and Huayhuash this winter

Unless you plan on a ski descent or a more technical route, I'm told that Copa is a pretty unexciting snow slog, and not necessarily more empty; both of the above books list Copa as one of the more heavily accessed peaks, especially by guided teams. If you guys are looking for solitude but don't want to venture into the Pongos area or the Eastside, consider a traverse of the three peaks of Chopiraju/Andavite - the views are spectacular and the route is straightforward at PD but still thrilling, can be done in a long day, and if there is anyone else on it, there won't be after the first summit.
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby ywardhorner » Tue May 22, 2012 1:21 am

The impression I have is that Copa is not often climbed, though I know there are a couple of outfits that guide it. Guess we'll find out when we get there. I know it's an unexciting snow slog, but this will be our first 6000 m peak and we want to keep it very easy because we're not sure how things will be at that altitude. If it all works out well, we'll go after something more technical.

The guidebook does warn about a narrowing of the ridge below the summit that has turned many people back. So it might get exciting at the end :)

Thanks for the beta, I'll research Chopiraju and Andavite.
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby jbetoo » Tue May 29, 2012 7:27 pm

Of my three trips to the Cordillera Blanca, I have only heard of two attempts on Copa. I've always wanted to climb it as well as a warm-up, but those two trip reports -- one of which by my usual partner -- came back with the access to the glacier itself is a bit of nightmare (crumbling rock, steep and difficult to protect, even some steep water ice) with the glacial tongue being significantly more melted out than the pics in the guidebook. (So I was persuaded to climb other peaks, which was fine, because there are plenty of other peaks to climb.)

Once on the glacier itself, I was told, the climbing is straightforward, with the typical glacier stuff (crevasses). I can't speak for every year, but the three summers I was there it was not a coveted peak at all and there weren't crowds clamoring to climb it. It's a long, long snow slog once you get on the glacier, my partner said, and not very interesting. But I think it's a beautiful, striking peak, and one that I've always wanted to climb. Others just haven't shared my enthusiasm for the reasons I mentioned above.

That being said, might as well give it a shot, take some pics, and have a safe climb.
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby ywardhorner » Wed May 30, 2012 2:58 am

Thanks, jb. It does sound like the crux of the route is getting onto the glacier. We can handle water ice, but crumbling rock might turn us back. I've read so much conflicting info -- it'll be interesting to actually get up there and see what the deal is. I'll maybe post a TR when we get back, or at least update this thread so you can know if you want to talk someone into going up there or not.
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby ywardhorner » Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:23 pm

UPDATE: The glacier has receded a lot so getting onto the actual West Slopes did involve a short stretch of 4th-classing plus a short section of water ice (WI3 moves but short), then 2 pitches of 70 degree snow.
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby vlko_s » Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:23 am

Hi all,

we want to visit Cordillera Blanca this May. Not for ice climbing, just treking (Alpamayo trek) and if conditions will be good we want to try some easy peak. (no ice climbing, just crampones or snowshoes, ice axe, short rope and harness to glaciers).
Do you have any tips for easy, quite high peaks there? We want to touch 6000m if conditions will let us...
I've read about Copa, looks ok, but as I read here your posts there can be some troubles at the begining...

Thanks for reply

Jan
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby shottolo » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:54 am

hi
i went last june (2012) to the base camp of Copa (remember: from Vicos is a long way)
i think the access to high plateau is not an "easy" couloir;
nothing really hard but years ago the access was easy with snow but in 2012 a lot of ice+rock and less snow
i saw (and heard) a lot of little avalanches near the couloir

sorry for my english ;)
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby vlko_s » Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:05 pm

Ok
As I see on the map, from Vicos its 1500m degrees of incline...its fair walk to have rest day after :)

to couloir: do you need ice screws, climbing ice axes, ice climbing crampones?

Or is there other way to avoid couloir?

Thanks

Jan
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Re: Has Anyone Here Climbed Copa in the Cordillera Blanca?

Postby shottolo » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:50 am

i'm sure you need axes and crampones (not sure about screws... maybe "estacas" are better)
you can check this asking to a local guide; try OMG (Operazione Mato Grosso) in Marcarà. I used their services 2 times years ago and they are very good guides

Agenzia delle guide Don Bosco:
andesdbosco@hotmail.com
Tel: +51-043-443061

or you can try with the guide Felix Roca (i used his agency in 2012)


just for information: i really suggest the cordillera Cordillera Huayhuash trekking for acclimatation and Tocllaraju (Ishinca range) for the first 6000m (or Ishinca and Urus for acclimatation and Tocclaraju to the end)
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