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Expedition to Cordillera Blanca, Peru (Updated!) - Member Organized

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  • Cordillera Blanca

    Huaraz, Peru (map)

    -9.526115 -77.528778

  • This is a member-organized event for which the club is providing no oversight, monitoring or support of any kind. There is no screening of participants or leaders and no assurance of safety, risk management, appropriate skill level, adequate preparation or proficient experience like there would be on an official club event. On this understanding, SMC allows this opportunity so that people to make their own private arrangements to get out and climb with others. We think this valuable. Just know that YOU are responsible and liable for this private arrangement, not SMC. Climb safe, climb smart, have fun!  

    I’m going on a 16-day climbing trip to the Cordillera Blanca, Peru, & am looking for fellow travelers/climbers. June 11 – 26, 2017. It’s a guided trip (so not super cheap, but not that expensive either by comparison) & is a mountaineering skills course - glacier travel/crevasse rescue, etc. that finishes with an attempt of Yanapaqcha (17,919 ft), followed by an attempt of Chopicalqui (20,845 ft). 

    If you’re interested in going on this expedition, please first have a look at some more specific information I've put below, as it’s a really physically demanding 16 days, with a lot of continuous time spent at high altitudes. Feel free to ask me any questions here, at [masked], or @[masked]-3705. 

    I know it's not going to be easy finding other climbers who want to go - high cost, very high fitness needed, big time investment, and so on, but you never know! Hope to hear from some climbers! 


    Here’s a lot more specific info:

    Dates again -

    Land in Lima, Peru, June 11, 2017

    Return to home country from Lima, June 26, 2017

    The guiding company I’ve booked with is Skyline Adventure School, located in Huaraz, Peru. They’re actually from Missoula, MT, but live in Peru full-time. Their website has a description of the Mountaineering Course & climbs of Yanapaqcha, and Chopicalqui, and a lot of other information, at ( ). 

    Skyline told me that the costs listed on their website for 2016, for the mountaineering course & these two climbs will be the same for 2017. I also asked, for each day that we are hiking &/or climbing:

    1. How much will our packs weigh?

    2. What is the elevation gain?

    3. How many hours are we hiking &/or climbing?

    This itinerary is below, & I think it gives a really good idea of the level of fitness each climber needs to have. I also understand that we’ll be climbing snow & ice faces of up to around mostly 60 degrees or so, with packs that weigh approx. 33 lbs or more, something good to keep in mind while training - 

     . Day 1: Private pick-up at the Lima Airport. Transfer to hotel in Lima for a nice meal & a good night’s sleep.

    . Day 2: Private transfer in the morning to the bus station. Take a comfortable first class ride, approx. 8 hours, to Huaraz (10,000 ft). Move into your hotel and relax.

    · Day 3: Day hike to Puka Ventana. Overnight in Huaraz. (10,000 ft - 11,155 ft)

    1. Pack wt: Light day pack - water, camera, warm layer, snack

    2. Elevation gain: Approx 1200 ft

    3. Hours hiking: Approx 4; round-trip

    · Day 4: Day hike to Laguna Churup. Overnight in Huaraz. (12,951 ft - 14,751 ft)

    1. Pack wt: Light day pack - water, camera, warm layer, snack

    2. Elevation gain: Approx 1800 ft

    3. Hours hiking: Approx 5; round-trip 

    · Day 5: Day hike from Cebollapampa to Laguna 69. Overnight in Cebollapampa. (13,100 ft – 15,570 ft)

    1. Pack wt: Light day pack - water, camera, warm layer, snack

    2. Elevation gain: Approx 2500 ft

    3. Hours hiking: Approx 6; round-trip

    . Day 6: Mountaineering course start – Day 1, hike from  Cebollapampa  to  Yanapaqcha basecamp (13,100 ft – 14,800 ft)

    1. Pack wt: Approx 55-66 lbs Expedition pack with your sleeping bag, sleeping mat, clothing, hygiene kit, clothing, personal mt. gear

    2. Elevation gain: Approx 1700 ft

    3. Hours hiking &/or climbing: 3-4; one-way trip

    · Day 7: Mountaineering course Day 2 (14,800 ft starting point)

    1. Pack wt: Approx 33 lbs Small day pack: water, camera, warm layers, snack, mt. gear

    2. Elevation gain: [masked] ft

    3. Hours hiking &/or climbing: Approx 3 (with skills on the glacier bet. hiking)

    · Day 8: Mountaineering course Day 3 (14,800 ft starting point)

    1. Pack wt: Approx 33 lbs

    2. Elevation gain:[masked] ft

    3. Hours hiking &/or climbing: Approx 3 ( w/ skills on the glacier bet. hiking)

    · Day 9: Mountaineering course Day 4 (14,800 ft starting point)

    1. Pack wt: Approx 33 lbs

    2. Elevation gain: [masked] ft

    3. Hours hiking &/or climbing: Approx 3 (w/ skills on the glacier bet. hiking)

    · Day 10: Mountaineering course Day 5, summit attempt on Yanapaqcha (14,800 ft – 17,919 ft)

    1. Pack wt: Approx 33 lbs, maybe with an extra warm layer or 2

    2. Elevation gain: Approx 3100 ft 

    3. Hours hiking &/or climbing: 7-10; round-trip

    · Day 11: Hike down to Cebollapampa (14,800 ft – 13,100 ft)

    1. Pack wt: Approx 77 lbs - This day you will help carry out tents and some other gear

    2. Elevation gain: It will be a traverse/descent

    3. Hours hiking: 2.5-4; one-way trip

    · Day 12: Hike from Chopicalqui trailhead to moraine camp  (13,100 ft – 16,062 ft)

    1. Pack wt: Approx 77-88 lbs

    2. Elevation gain: Approx 3000 ft

    3. Hours hiking: 5-7; one-way trip

    · Day 13: Ascend from moraine camp to glacier, then to col between Chopicalqui  and Huascaran. Set up high camp. 16,062 ft – (17,373 ft – 17,600 ft)

    1. Pack wt: Approx 66-77 lbs

    2. Elevation gain: [masked] ft (depending upon location of camp)

    3. Hours hiking &/or climbing: 4-6; one-way trip

    · Day 14: Summit attempt on Chopicalqui, followed by hike back down to moraine camp. (17,373 ft – 17,600 ft) – 20,845 ft. Then back down to 16,062 ft

    1. Pack wt: Approx 33 lbs, maybe with an extra warm layer or 2

    2. Elevation gain: Approx 3500 ft

    3. Hours hiking &/or climbing: 8-10; round-trip. Then back to moraine camp, 2 hours one-way trip

    · Day 15: Hike from moraine camp back to road. Transfer to Huaraz.

    1. Pack wt: Approx 66-77 lbs

    2. Elevation gain: Descent

    3. Hours hiking: 3-4; one-way trip

    . Day 16: Last minute shopping for family and friends before departing Huaraz for Lima at 11am, arriving at the airport or your hotel by 7:30pm.

    There are so many places to find training/workout preps for an expedition like this – guiding company websites that offer similar trips, like Alpine Ascents International, Rainier Mountaineering Inc., & many books. My favorite is “Training for the New Alpinism”, by Steve House & Scott Johnston. It’s endorsed by Messner, so it can’t be all that bad ;) ! Actually, I think it rocks! 

    I know this is a guided expedition and I just want to say that I’m in no way affiliated with Skyline Adventure School or any of their employees, & I’m not receiving any kind of compensation for this. They just seemed like a great company to go with, and in my interactions with them so far, it's turning out to be true.

    As an FYI - Jenn, who handles making arrangements for expeditions, let me know that the course & climbing instruction/guiding will be in English 100%. 

    In the end I’m just another Sierra Eastside climber who's been dreaming about climbing in Peru. Enough dreaming! I’m going! And I figure my first time climbing in Peru, I want to learn as much as possible about the country, how things work there, how these specific mountains & glaciers in the Cordillera Blanca work & behave, etc., etc. - in order to be very ready, for return independent climbing trips in the future. 

    Anyway, if you’re psyched on climbing in the Cordillera Blanca also, and are interested in going, let me know!

    And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me here on, via my email [masked], or @[masked]-3705.

    Good Climbing!

    Richard Castillo

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  • Richard
    Event Host

    Trad & esp. alpine climbing; peakbagging. Also would like to learn new things - glacier travel &... more

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