Friday, August 07, 2009

Long Road

Jake and Dad nearing the Huandoy Pisco col.

First light on the Huandoy massif.

Dad and I on top. The real prize looms behind.

The guys had just four nights in Huaraz before heading for the hills. Not too bad, but given that we were pushing for near 6k, it might be a stretch.

After nearly two weeks of perfect weather, the day we left was, of course, rainy. We made decent time up to base camp, found a cave to pitch the Firstlight tent. The cave doubled as warm, non-windy, dry area for cooking and hanging out while the weather raged.

Originally we had planned to move our camp up to the morraine. However, the weather convinced us to stay put. We spent most of the day in the refugio with the guides, and later playing rummy and drinking Irish coffees. Probably not the best way to hydrate for a climb, but we weren´t sure the weather would lift.

We decided to wake up at midnight and leave if we could see stars. 0 hour came, not a cloud in the sky.

The road to the glacier was pretty gnarly. It took more than 4 hours to get there. The energy deficit set in. The climb wasn´t steep but had some sections that really push the unacclimitized. Dad and Jake dug down deep and pushed on. We reached the summit at 11 am with no wind, no clouds, nothing but 6k peaks.

Other than the blazing heat and dehydration the way down was uneventful. Cusqueña and sandwiches never tasted so good.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Marcus left at 11h30 for Lima. Jake and my Dad were arriving at 5h30 the following day. Knowing Churup was actually getting climbed this year, it was killing me to look up at the face each day. Finally, I convinced an Australian climber, Simon, to venture out for a quick trip.

We left Zarela´s at 1h, were at base camp by 4h. Racked up and got ready to set out early.

We set the alarms for zero hour. By 1h we had left camp and worked our way up the morraine.

The warm weather had changed the deep snow I plodded through a month earlier to firm neve. Travel was quick. At the bergschrund we roped up and started pitching out the climb.

A long simul pitch brought us to the real difficulties. A short rightward traverse then a steep mixed pitch. I didn´t find any protection... but didn´t look too hard because conditions were perfect and the rock was solid.

Simon lead an extremely fun exposed traverse left. Another pitch brought us to the face. 60 degree neve all the way to the top.

The climb was never hard or scary. It was just engaging enough to keep it interesting. If the face is in condition it is an absolute must do. Funest day trip from Huaraz!

Simon on the summit. Ranrapalca, Oschalpalca and Vallunaraju to his left.

60 degree neve for a long way.

Simon on the second mixed pitch.