Peru Expedition: Urus, Ishinca, Tocllaraju, Chopicalqui & Alpamayo - august 2016
It was 2009 when I first climbed high mountains and it happened to be in Peru as well - Misti (5.822 m) - and already by then my target was the Cordillera Blanca / White Range. Due to various events I've never made it till this summer ... finally heading to Cordillera Blanca and with a great plan.
We were a team of 3: a friend of us, my boy friend (mountain guide) and me, 5 summits scheduled in 3 weeks, all well prepared so we could get started immediately. Our first week: Urus (5.420), Ishinca (5.530 m) & Tocllaraju (6.032 m).
Day 1: hike to Ishinca Valley base camp (4.200 m)
Ishinca Valley Base Camp (4.200 m)
Day 2: Our first mountain Urus (5.420 m) - we were the only team trying summit that day and it was a great day. We started late, only shortly before daybreak, walked up the steep hill, crossed some rocks and finally there is a short part on the glacier before we could enjoy the incredible views from the summit. Ishinca and Tocllaraju so close and many other peaks of the range.
Urus Summit 5.420 m
Day 3: Ishinca - again we were late, the last team to leave the base camp and it was such a long way back to Ishinca mountain and the worst crossing the morraine before reaching the glacier, once there it was perfect. A long and soft passage over the glacier to the summit, only the last part required a little bit of climbing.
Left Tocllaraju, right Ishinca Summit
Ishinca Summit (5.530 m)
Day 4: Finally a rest day which we used for rappel and crevasse self rescue training just next to our base camp on a great rock.
Training Day Ishinca Valley
Day 5: Just the 3 of us, without porters, we went up to Tocllaraju high camp. It's not far, but steep and the morraine is as good as Ishinca one's :). With all the heavy load it took us quite a while, especially me, but we made it and got a great camping spont in the morrain.
ready for Tocllaraju Climb
Tocllaraju High Camp
Day 6: Summit day Tocllaraju (6.032 m) we were one of 3 successful teams that they and several others turned around. The mountain is impressive, the most impressive one I'd climbed till then, numerous crevasses, seracs etc. a real challenge and a quite long ascent as well. Anyway a wonderful experience. My second mountain > 6k.
Day 7: Hike out and back to Huaraz for some summit celebrations!
Our biggest mistake: scheduling only one rest day which was a really hard day due to the hangover and the fact that we had to do our purchases for the next part of the expediton. I suggest min. 2 rest days if you want to enjoy a bit as well.
Our second block shall be a quick Chopicalqui - the highest target within our tour - scheduled for 4 days.
Day 1: Still tired and ones again heavily packed we made it directly up to the morrain camp, skipping base camp. We had 2 porters, who helped us also with cooking that time. Impressive mountain - I was even a bit afraid: all the time you could hear stone and snow avalanches ... but of course we were far away and save. Even if it felt like the next one will take us down as well.
Chopicalqui morraine camp - view to Huandoy
Day 2: Weather is great again and we continue to the high camp, it's only little in altitude difference but quite challenging as the glacier is very collapsed. The camp itself only wow, inbetween crevasses ... here I was even more afraid and tired ... finally I took the desicion to stay in the tent and not trying the summit with my mates.
approach Chopicalqui high camp
High Camp Chopicalqui
Day 3: Summit attempt by the 2 guys of our team. Heavy loads of snow forced them to turn around at approx. 6.000 m. It was a hard climb and we still had to go down to morraine camp.
Day 4: Down from morraine camp, back to Huaraz ... a little bit sad this time ...
Chopicalqui was a very interesting experience and I will definitely come back! Hopefully in 2017!
After this we had our next rest day for doing purchases again and then our last and most important target Alpamayo. We took it easy that time and went only up to Llamacorral ... so the one day rest was fine after Chopicalqui, but of course it could be more :)
Day 1: Hike up to Llamacorral with our 2 porters and donkies plus donkey driver this time.
Day 2: Base camp Alpamayo, it was a good idea having come here in 2 days time, so we are fresh and can go directly up to the high camp, leaving out morraine camp.
Alpamayo base camp
Day 3: From base camp directly up to high camp. This was a hard climb, as the last part was quite tricky. We had to help our porters and made it finally up to the so called "col" and ones you see the mountain, you will fall in love with it. It was a hard desicion, but we were all 3 ok, so we decided to climb the same night, as we were not too sure about the weather and the men of the group wanted to climb Quitaraju as well.
descent Alpamayo high camp
Day 6: Reserve day at base camp & we see that going down was an error ... weather is great that day, feeling sorry for other teams who did not have the chance to try climbing the summit. We enjoy the day at the lagoon and the guys are only a little sad as they could not do Quitaraju ... another reason to come back soon!
around Alpamayo base camp
Day 7: Hike out of the valley and back to Huaraz ... enjoying marvellous views and making new plans.
Artesonraju seen on the hike out from Alpamayo
Final celebrations in Huaraz were short, as honestly said we were a little bit tired :) ... but we enjoyed a few more days in Huaraz before going back to Ecuador.
Love Cordillera Blanca, Peru!!! The place to be for getting in touch with real mountaineering and ideal for preparing for bigger things.
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