On our way to Chopicalqui high camp

I had hired a guide and porter for this climb, and left most of the planning to the guiding agency. We had four days. As you can see here, on the second day, on our way to high camp, we carried a lot of stuff, but tomorrow we would learn that it wasn't enough.As we were planning for only one night at high camp, somewhere around 5450m, expecting to descend to moraine camp after the climb, we had food and fuel for just one day and stashed the rest at moraine camp. Makes you wonder what it was that our porter, right in front of me here, was carrying that made his load so big.

The weather had been less than ideal the last few days, with rain and fresh snow, and today we got another fresh sprinkling. Up to high camp, there was still a bit of a trail visible, no doubt made by the two other climbers that we met camping there, but above that, nothing. After our alpine start, we learned that route finding in the dark was hard, and our progress was too slow. Had we had more food, we could have scouted a big part of the route, stayed one more night at high camp, and climbed it the next day, but we didn't have that option.

I remembered the lesson, and would eventually come back here a month later with more food and a few more spare days and we camped higher, at around 5600m. Of course, the weather was perfect that time, the trail clear and wide, and we had no serious difficulties to make it up there and back in three days!

4 July 2011.


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