Arrival at Arequipa airport
In the wider area around Arequipa, Peru, there are several peaks over 6000m. The only one that is climbed frequently is Chachani. Often you can simply show up at one of the agencies in Arequipa and sign up for a climb the very next day. The reasons for its popularity are obvious: it's high, it's an easy climb and the trailhead is only a few hours driving from Arequipa.
Of course, without the right preparation you don't have a chance to make it and so I had hiked and climbed for two weeks in the area first to get used to the altitude.
And now I was ready!
Misti from the summit of Chachani
The trip to the trailhead took a couple of hours. We got out of the 4x4 just east of the saddle between Chachani and Nocarani. From there we hiked westward over the saddle and beyond, and after a leisurely hour and a half we reached our camp site, north of Chachani proper.
There were six clients and a couple of guides. Early next morning, two of the clients were having too much problems with the altitude. I didn't quite understand the confused discussion about who would go and who would stay, but eventually another client and I started our ascent with one of the guides. After a while, when I looked behind me, I saw more headlights, so some of the others were following after all.
The first light of the day hits the scree
The climb was real easy, but I wasn't feeling very strong that day so we went slow. Higher up, we needed crampons because there was hard snow. It wasn't really steep, but we had brought an axe, just in case. Walking poles would have been fine though.
Early on, before sunrise, it was cold. But when the sun came over the mountain, it warmed up quickly, and now that we could see something, the scenery was stunning!
Panorama of Nocarani (5784m) from high on Chachani. Notice the curvature of the earth?
External LinksQuechua Exploring
is the agency I climbed with. I wouldn't hesitate to hire them again.
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