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markhallam - Jan 13, 2013 9:46 am - Voted 10/10

Another great write up...

...and quite an adventure - if, I have to say, a little borderline for soloing! But I can imagine how pleased you felt to have solved the jigsaw puzzle and reached a fine summit. best wishes


rgg - Jan 13, 2013 5:43 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Another great write up...

On Maparaju I never felt uncomfortable being solo. The route was easy, the glacier was small and not very crevassed and there was a vague trail.
On Jatunmontepuncu I was a little bit apprehensive about the avalanche risk on the sugary slope I climbed. It was only my second glacier climb in the Cordillera Blanca and I realized that I didn't have much experience to judge the probability that it would come down. At the bottom of the ramp it wasn't steep enough for that and there was no risk, but the grade got steeper gradually. I only realized there was avalanche risk by the time I was already in steep terrain. There had hardly been any fresh snow though, so it had had at least a week to settle. Still, someone else to discuss it with would have been nice, especially if that someone else was familiar with the factors contributing to avalanche risk in the Cordillera Blanca.
Soloing Huancapeti was no problem until I found myself on the short steep descent on the west face. In fact, that would still be alright to solo, but next time I'll bring a rope.


sharperblue - Jan 14, 2013 1:16 pm - Voted 10/10

water note

Fun read and nice report; thank you! a few years back when we were heading up San Juan, we stopped to investigate the waterfalls falling off of his south side that you picture; we had thought from far away that it was an endless sprindrift avalanche, but when we hiked to the base of the falls, there were massive stalagmites and columns of calcium; that area is insanely mineral-rich, and the water coming out of there looked like frothing creamed milk it had so much calcium in it. Most of the water in the steam higher up Q.Tulparaju is so iron-rich that it can shut your organs down, and at the least make you very sick for several days; we had a good conversation with some minerologists in Q.Quil when we were in there last time. check out 'iron poisoning' on wiki...


rgg - Jan 14, 2013 5:10 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: water note

Interesting background, about the water.

What I drank tasted fine, and I had no stomach problems, so the iron content must have been low enough to be safe. I had no idea that, in other streams in the area, the high concentration was a natural phenomenon. If pressed, I would have guessed that the cause of the bad water would be the remnants of an old mine, for some sort of metal. Many heavy metals are poisonous themselves, and if that's not enough, certain chemicals used in the mining process can do serious and long time damage if leaked into the environment.

In the Cordillera Negra there are lots of mines, and precisely for that reason I always carried water up from the valley when I went hiking there, and never took anything from a local stream or lake. I know of a few mines in the Blanca as well, but none that are really high up, so unless Edward would have warned me, I would have taken water from the main stream in Q. Cayesh and perhaps also from Q. Quilcayhuanca.

Calcium in the water doesn't worry me. If there would be a bit of it dissolved in the water that would actually be good for my bones. I don't know how much calcium there would have to be dissolved in the water to make it unhealthy, but calcium carbonate, the building material for stalagmites, has very low solubility in water.

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