So finally it is here: 2,5 years later, we are standing bellow Solimana again staring at her glaciated peaks. After previous health problems we took it slow with acclimatization and departed from Arequipa on 2nd of Sept to spend nights at 3700, 4200, 4700 and 5100... Let's go continuously though...
5 people and 10 llamas live in the place called Arma where we have spent the 2nd night. Nevertheless, a local guy has fried the best trout we have ever eaten for us here. On the following morning, we are waiting for transport to fetch to take us to the place called Visca Grande... without success. Loaded with backpacks of more than 35kg we set out on the foot for the long trek. After 2 hours of walking, salvation comes from the heaven in form of a pick up with three priests inside. They load us in and give us a ride and some mandarinas for refreshement...
From Visca Grande its some 8km of walking to the place where we set up our camp with wonderful views of the Solimana masif from the north, a view we have not seen before that astonishes us. We are choosing the ascent route and are carving the curves into the snow in our minds... The day before the ascent, we move the camp to 5100 and carry the equipment to 5400.
We bring gifts and offerings to Apu Solimana , boil water for litres of tee for the summit day and fall asleep. It is the 6th of september and we are starting the summit day at 3am. Moon iluminates the landscapes and Miro has to return to the camp after some 300 vertical meter because of the forgotten glacier googles. At 7am, we meet again and get to the start of the glacier. Skinning up the glacier plateau gets us below the narrow culoir that will lead us towards the summit ridge. At 10:30 we start the climb passing a technical glaciated part, sort of a short icefall.
6 lengths of rope with strong support of snow anchors and we are almost up... The declination of the slope lowers together with the speed of our ascent and at 14:30 we are at the top. We are happy and our dream has come true. Wonderful views of altiplano and surrounding mountains make it up for the efforts. Couple of pictures and some camcoder shooting and we attach our skis for the descent. Summit ridge has some good snow that allows us to really enjoy some nice turns... later on in the culoir, the snow turns into mixture of crystalised pieces mixed up with some icy spots... Precaution makes us go slowlier and later on take off the skis and rappel down the icefall... We get to the camp in the darkness, assisted by Garmin Vista GPS, falling asleep immediatelly.
It is the 8th of September and we are in Cotahuasi - a village almost in the bottom of the deepest Canyon of the world enjoying hot springs and resting a bit. We already made up our plans for ascent of Coropuna -a huge glaciated volcano that we will approach today. So next week, some more photos and a new article from Arequipa.
Martin and Miro