- Technical climbs in the Cordillera Blanca:
If you want to do technical routes it's advised in many guides to use 60m ropes - we hadn't some with us -> mmmh?. Why this post is in English? -> to give credit to our American friends Brian & Graham which let us use their rope for the rappel on Alpamayo, "La montana mas bella del Mundo".
- The 3 rules of mountaineering:
I) It's always taller than it looks
II) It's always further than it looks
III) and it's always harder than it looks
1 - Up the Santa Cruz Valley to the basecampT45) From Huaraz we took the collectivo to Caraz. The small buses are built for 18 passangers plus the driver plus the guy which opens/closes the door and collects the money. Because the always want to make as much money as possible their were sometimes up to 24 passangers in our bus -> now I'm aware why these people have such rooked backs, especially the older women. From Caraz 2250 we get higher until Conay 2900. The taxidriver wanted us to introduce to a donkeydriver he knows. We agreed to take him and set the time to leave from Conay for 7am. $20 a day and 3 days in total (2 up and 1 down for the donkeydriver).
Because we already arrived at 2pm we didn't know nothing better as to play soccer with the kids of the village (we were asked to join them). Régine made the first step.
The kids were so curious about the cooking and set up the tent - they followed every movement we did...
Next day: the donkeydriver (the guy who guides the donkeys) was 20min late and we almost took another one. After more then one hour later - braektime for the donkeys and for us too. Last night I slept alomost nothing because I had flarulences the whole night. During our hike I probably had higher temperature as well.
After one camp at Laguna Ichiccocha 3900m we arrived at the basecamp 4300m on the 2nd day.
"WE DO DONKIES..." ;-)
Brian with lot's of vagetables - incredible! Healthy food makes you strong :-)
A nice shot with the tele: Alpamayo from the north.
The young boy playing with the even younger dog.
Brian & Graham in front of their tent and Alpamayo before they head for the Morane Camp.
2 - Basecamp and higher
Graham fully and heavy packed with ropes, helmets and lots of other climbingstuff.
The way follows the lighter line (higher than the trees) in the middle of the picture up to the Campo Morena 4900m.
T48) On the day Brian & Graham climb to the High Camp, Regine and I go up to the Campo Morena. We get there at 12:30 and decide to stay. We try to get on the summit from there. So instead of 550m we have to climb almost a 1000 meters.
Régine is preparing the dinner: puré de papa (what else?!)
During that time I built another stoneman. We are already in the shadow. The sun illuminates the other side and the temperature drops on our side. After dinner we crawl in our sleeping bags around 5pm.
A few of Grahams pictures:
Icicles hanging down from a serac.
Brian and Graham at High Camp 5500m in front of the SW-face. I mean this is THE picture for the family album :-)
Another nice shot!
The ground is already frozen.
This picture needs to get enlarged and hanged up at home.
A view from the summit region.
3 -The French party on Alpamayo 5947 - Tue, 07/17/2007
T49) The bell rings at 2 am. We don't cook anything for breakfast -only a few gulps of the tea from last night. We start walking on the glacier 30 min later. We're not as fast as we thought. 3 hours later Régine climbs a short narrow part with waterice only with one iceaxe and her skistick. One more time I'm impressed. I take my 2nd iceaxe from the backpack which gives me more confidence.
We finally reach the High Camp at 6:15.
On the left to Regine the tent of Brian & Graham.
The "French Direct" D+, starts just above Regines head (a bit to the left) and goes straight up to the top.
The first sunrays almost touch Quitaraju. We descent for about 50m and have to climb the same distanc up to the bergschrund.
We arrive the bergschrund around 6:45. Graham just started to climb the first pitch.
A few minutes later the sun rises. Quitaraju 6034 on the left and Nevado Santa Cruz 6259 in the middle, one of the harder ones in the region.
Buenos dias amigo - Graham following.
What we both had in common was our cold. We coughed regularly and with the cold and thin air we spoke on the summit like Darth Vader...
A friendly alpinist always smiles :-)
We're in the middle of the icy part. The first pitch in the ice was ugly. A bit higher up the conditions were better. The sun never touches the face. We climbed the whole day in the shadow. But not wearing sunglasses was a big mistake!
Régine on an anchor (one icescrew?) - belaying me up. My feets feel cold, my fingers even colder. Every pocket of her contains an energybar. I had some as well but I didn't eat or drink anything until the top.
The 3rd last pitch: Brian is leading, Régine behind. I'm totally exhausted and dehydrated. Regine convinced me to wait for a cup of tea until we reached the summit. I agree :-(
The way up.
Here another picture with 2 climbers almost on the summit.
Before we had to go to the right the wall steepened up to 80 degrees for a few meters.
Brian happy belaying Graham at the last pitch.
Régine on the summit (2.20 pm), the weather unfortunatly got more and more cloudy.
Graham climbing the last meters.
Cumbre Alpamayo: Hey dude - What a climb! We're so happy that we finally reached it's summit.
Graham coils the ropes fore the rappel.
Regine fixing her gloves: ready for roping down. It's already 2.50pm.
Around 9...10 pitches to rappels wait for us. Nobody couldn't remember how many it was.
Brian staying on the narrow ridge right under summit. I check my rappel-gear.
High Camp from even higher up.
Regine on the way down.
The cloudiness increased.
We reach the bottom of the face and are ready to descent (5pm)
Brian and Graham following.
Regine on the last rappel. It's already 5.50 pm.
At the end of the glacier I try to get some water for the dinner. Because we're so tired we decide to cook only tea and a soup. Although we're very tired I fell asleep not until midnight. Regine can't sleep as weel - her eyes won't stop to tear. We all definitly got to much light even though we were never in the sun.
4 - The days after: out of the valley and back to Huaraz
What a mess! The tent is already packed. We have to get ready for the descent to the basecamp. Régine wears a hut and of course sunglasses to get as less light as possible.
Two hours after reaching the basecamp Brian and Graham get there too. They both look very tired because they had tired eyes as we do. Brians big toes got a bit to cold yesterday. Except Graham all of us weared leatherboots.
I buy a Coke and then we wait for a donkeydriver to take our stuff down. But there is no one. But at the end we can fix to start the next morning at 8 am. Even better: we can go out in one day with only one donkey.
The weather get's pretty bad. Fortunatly the tent is already set up. We crawl into our sleeping bags for a nap. It rains for two hours.
Right after dinner - Alpamayo and the moon. Clouds are coming rise up from the lower part of the valley.
T51, 07/19/07 - the next morning: Our tent and the ground is covered with ice. A cow comes by. We have to get ready.
Yeah - we climbed Alpamayo. Our 6th and last peak in Cordillera Blanca.
Artensonraju on the other side of the valley. Rumor say the it's an outline for the Paramount Picture - mountain.
Last view back - today will be a colder day with more wind than we had :-/
El Valle Santa Cruz
Donkey with bridge
Just a fiew minutes before Cashapampa. Lot's of stuff and many donkeys cross our path on the way up.
Many taxis and collectivos wait in Cashapampa. It was not hard to find one who took us down to Caraz. At the Terminal Terrestre in Caraz we stepped into the next collectivo and finally arrived in Huaraz at around 5 pm. The owner of our hostal "El Jacal" was a bit amazed to see us so early - but we still got a room which was most important for us. A warm shower and meal with plates, cutlery and a normal table satisfied us deeply.
Brian, Graham: it was a great time with you guys! The dinner at B&Bs, Pisco at Luchos Bar, Desert at Patricks (thanks Brian for the invitation) and of course the breakfast at your place on the terasse.