After 21 hours of travel we see the mountains from the bus. They look big and menacing.
The most terrifying part of the trip for Jared – riding in the cab with a lazy-eyed psycho for a driver. ramming sheep assessing road damage Okay, well he did have a psychotic look in his eyes, and he ran a crippled old man off the road, hit a number of sheep, goats and dogs, typically drove 3X the posted speed limit, and he came inches from decapitating Jared and the front ½ of his car…but he always got us there on time!
First stop – Vallunaraju (18,700) We backpacked up to the glacier at 16,500 for some acclimatizing and refreshing of our glacier travel and crevasse rescue techniques
We explore a sweet ice cave under the glacier. They must have filmed parts of Superman here!
Are you sure this snow anchor will hold me?? Trust me! Dropping into a crevasse
See, it holds you…now you just have to get yourself out.
Climbing out of this thing with a big pack on and at 17,100 is tough work!
This climbing really hurts my foot. Fortunately there is no shortage of ice water on the edge of the glacier.
After Vallunaraju, we head back to Hauraz for a day of rest, shopping, and getting provisions for a week in the mountains. Mmm, ceviche. Tasty raw tentacles, crab, shrimp and fish soaked in lime juice.
We buy 60 lbs of dry goods for our expedition. How are we supposed to get the 170 lbs of food, climbing gear, winter clothes, and camping gear up the mountain???
Los Burros! Thats how! $5 a day and theyll each carry 100 lbs of gear to base camp? Sign us up!!
Now if we could only strap crampons on these things the mountains would be easy.
Pisco Base Camp Summit (map stolen from Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca by Brad Johnson) First Destination: Pisco (18,900) 6,100 total vertical gain X taxi drop- off
The land of turquoise lakes and many mountains rising 10,000 above the alpine valleys.
After a day of rest at Base Camp, we head for Piscos summit. We are climbing by 1:30 a.m. and Jared is quite sick with flu symptoms. It is an arduous climb by the light of the moon for 5 hours. We are occasionally ensconced in clouds and snow flurries.
Finally there is some daylight. Looking great Jared!
What do you say we head down to where theres more oxygen??
We were just on that 18,900 summit behind us! Lets celebrate!
30 seconds later… Apparently climbing high mountains isnt good on a bad case of the flu. On the bright side, Jared hasnt coughed up blood in hours.
After a couple 4:30 a.m. beers, Im feeling loads better. Dont I look ready for another peak?
Back to Donkey Camp and time to head for the next mountain – Yanapaccha (17,900)
Base Camp Summit (map stolen from Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca by Brad Johnson) Yanapaccha 5,100 total vertical gain crevasse navigation up steep snow and ice on the west face X Donkey Camp
base camp is well behind this ridge somewhere Yanapacchas West Face The route weaves through the crevasses up the middle of the face to the summit.
Another early start by moonlight. 3 hours of steep loose scrambling to the glaciers edge. Unfortunately, Jared severely injures his ribs at the glacier. I continue up with our guide and he heads back to base camp.