Ski descent of Coropuna, 2004

Page Type
Trip Report
Arequipa, Peru, South America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Sep 10, 2004
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Created On: Apr 19, 2005
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Coropuna a spanish version of Quechua (2nd of 3 official languages used in Peru besides spanish and Aymara) equivalent Ccoripuna - the golden mountain was another goal of our feet willing to ski during the SKI CORDILLERA 2004 micro expedition.

First, a small nation happened to expand from a valley in the Cuzco area to an area extending from Colombia to Argentina and Chile during a period of app. 200 years... The Incas introduced their social system, legislation, language, traditions and religion to all of the nations they had conquered. Later the Spanish conquistadores conquered the area and its people introducing their language, religion and orders... These two historical facts can be seen all over the south america including the mountains...

Sitting oevr a beer in Cotahuasi in the hot springs, we decided to hurry a bit and catch the same day's bus to Chuquibamba, that would leave us in the middle of the route under the mountain. We managed and so, packed in 20 minutes with 5 min to buy some groceries, we are sitting in the bus. We are getting of near the Pallacocha lake at an altitude 4750 meters. The hot springs did their job and even though we spent less then 24 hours in cotahausi, we feel completely relaxed.

The next morning, we are setting out completely loaded directing towards the mountain.It is a huge glaciated volcanic masiff, couple of peaks connected with vast glacial plateaus... a white shrine in the middle of a desert like altiplano. We set up the trent at 5171m and in the same day, carry the equipment to 5400. The peak itself is 6425 m tall, an altitude gain of some 1300 vertical meters is aiting for us the next day. We speculate over the ascent route and choose a non-traditional route promising good skiing. Later in the evening we cook tea, mashed potatoes with tuna and pudding for the dinner. Miro does not forget and ta kes out a improvisated birthday cake consisting of a candy bar and candle for me as it is 9th of september - day of my 24th birthday.The birthday party is concluded by playing cards for who will wash the dishes and by a sip of wine from Cotahuasi.

It is 3.30 am, we are getting up and wind is blasting into our tent. This years weather in the Cordillera is very unstable due to the el Nino phenomenon... The tent resists, the wind lowers its force a bit and we get out into the night to start the bid for the summit. We recolect the eqipment and are moving towards the glacier, freezing a bit. The glacier in the bottom is quite scarved by the crevasses, luckily, thy are not too wide and we overcome them with our skis quite easily. Higher up, the slope gets more inclination, we change into crampons and make our way up on feet.

We are on the dark shaded south-west face of the mountain and so the sun only gets to warm us up at arround 10 am. Our track in the snow is growing, the oxygen is diminishing and we found ourselfs at the beginning of the peak plateau that seems endless... Powdersnow blown a bit harder by the wind lies on the ground cherrishing up our spirits. Finally, we are at the top, couple pictures, and we are ready to recolect our reward for the job done. Turns in the powder are just incredible, we are skiing towards the vast altiplano stretching almost 2000m below us lit by the sun...

The altitude takes our breat away and so do the views of Solimana from where we descended 4 days before...

After successful forst ski descent of this side of the mountain, we are at the bottom of the galcier determined to catch a bus to arequipa the same night. We rush down to undo the camp and are at the dusty destroyed road at arround 6.15 pm. the bus is supposed to go arround at 7, it is late and so we are freezing until 8pm just to find out that the bes is full and will not take us in. the 2nd and last bus coming through the area comes after 45more minutes of freezing and take us in to get us to AREQUIPA standing the whole 7 hours.

for more stories from the expedition diary also in english, visit


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