Lost In Penitentes

Okay, so I wasn't exactly lost. Photographed at 19,300 feet on Ojos del Salado, the highest volcano in the world, January 7, 2011.

According to Wikipedia, Penitentes "are a snow formation found at high altitudes. They take the form of tall thin blades of hardened snow or ice closely spaced with the blades oriented towards the general direction of the sun. Penitentes can be as tall as a person."

Here are more penitentes near Everst base camp.

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Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Jan 26, 2011 11:24 am - Voted 10/10

That looks crazy!

I've seen spikey ice stick up, but not quite like this, cool scene! I wish I could have been there. Cheers Josh Lewis.

gimpilator

gimpilator - Jan 26, 2011 11:52 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: That looks crazy!

Thanks Josh! I have no doubt in my mind that you will go there some day.

beaudaddy85

beaudaddy85 - Jan 26, 2011 1:03 pm - Voted 10/10

Wow!

Can't wait to hear the stories!

gimpilator

gimpilator - Jan 27, 2011 12:04 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Wow!

Thanks Beau. I plan to write a lengthy trip report but it will be several weeks in the making. Traveling through three different countries, we climbed one 14er, one 16er, one 18er, two 19ers, and two 22ers.

Marcsoltan

Marcsoltan - Jan 26, 2011 2:37 pm - Voted 10/10

I think...

these start as sun cups and eventually become sharp and pointy. I have seen these in many different stages of development.
Nice photo, Adam,
Marc

gimpilator

gimpilator - Jan 26, 2011 11:54 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: I think...

Thanks Marc. I'm sure you're right because I seen them start to develop in late summer on Mount Rainer. But, I don't think they get very big or tall outside of the Andes. The ones on Rainier were only about a foot tall.

Ski Mountaineer

Ski Mountaineer - Jan 27, 2011 1:00 am - Hasn't voted

Re: I think...

I have encountered similarly larges ones in southern Tajikistan as well. The cliamte there is similar to the Central Chilean/Argentine Andes, though. That part of the Andes just sees so many climbers, so the stories of penitentes from there are abundant, whilst other penitentes hot spots are seldomly visited. But yeah, the really large ones are probably unique to the Andes.

Marcsoltan

Marcsoltan - Jan 27, 2011 3:39 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: I think...

I have seen these on Mount Damvand, in Iran. They are about five feet tall. There are large fields of them as you get close to the summit, around 18000 feet.

gimpilator

gimpilator - Jan 27, 2011 6:37 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: I think...

Very interesting. I guess they can form in many parts of the world under the right conditions.

Mansoureh

Mansoureh - Jan 30, 2011 4:05 am - Voted 10/10

Re: I think...

hi
this is Mansoureh from iran...you mentioned that you has seen such that in Damavand...i would be gratful if u tell me which side you`d climbed that u could see them...
thanx

Marcsoltan

Marcsoltan - Jan 30, 2011 11:01 am - Voted 10/10

Re: I think...

Yes, hello Mansoureh, I saw them on the regular route on the south side of the mountain about forty five years ago.
They were beyond the frozen waterfall but before the summit.

Redwic

Redwic - Jan 26, 2011 4:00 pm - Voted 10/10

Wicked!

Nice photo! I wish I could see some pentitentes! You didn't see any snow worms hiding out between them, did you? :-)

gimpilator

gimpilator - Jan 26, 2011 11:58 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Wicked!

Thanks! No, didn't see any worms. Actually we didn't see any plants or animals over 15,000 feet. It was almost shocking on the descent when I saw the first living green plant.

ericnoel

ericnoel - Jan 26, 2011 8:26 pm - Voted 10/10

Snow Spires

A gave this a 10 but it is contingent upon receiving an entertaining and thorough trip report ASAP.

Otherwise, I am voting it a 10 and that is not just an empty threat!

gimpilator

gimpilator - Jan 26, 2011 11:59 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Snow Spires

Thanks Eric! I'll get on it right away!

Kiefer

Kiefer - Jan 27, 2011 1:49 am - Voted 10/10

Damn!

This is an insane picture! Completely wild!

gimpilator

gimpilator - Jan 27, 2011 6:36 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Damn!

Thanks! Penitentes are pretty damn awesome. I guess I'll probably never see them again so large.

Marmaduke

Marmaduke - Jan 27, 2011 2:14 am - Voted 10/10

Super photo

Some are so lucky! You are one of them!

gimpilator

gimpilator - Jan 27, 2011 6:39 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Super photo

That's the truth. My friends keep saying "it's going to be the trip of a life-time". But I'm lucky enough to have been on many of these trips "of a life-time" now.

Mark Doiron

Mark Doiron - Jan 27, 2011 6:49 am - Voted 10/10

That's Cool

This is one to hang on the wall. --mark d.

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