Dreaming Of Peru

It is hard to explain why I am called to the high mountains.  I love the beauty, challenge, and overcoming fears, but does it justify cost, risk, and sacrifice needed to climb big mountains?    What ever the reasons the call of the mountains is strong. Even while my legs were still aching from my assent of  Rainier,  I was dreaming of what my next big climb would be.   Originally I was planning on heading to Mexico to climb some large volcanoes (Orizaba and Ixtca).  Then I found a two week  expedition skills seminar in the heart of the Peruvian Andes.  So for me, the first two weeks of July will be spent in the the Cordillera Blanca.   The Cordillera Blanca (white mountains) are a complex highland with permanently snowcapped peaks, some among the highest of the Andes (e.g., Mount Huascarán, at 22,205 feet).

8261608133_066b97fe58_o

Tocllarjau is the biggest objective of the trip. It stands a mighty 19790 ft / 6032 m tall.

I will be spending eleven nights camped above 14,435′  a mere 4 feet lower than Colorado’s highest point (Mt Elbert 14,439′) .  From basecamp we will be climbing three peaks Urus Este (17,800′), Tocllaraju(19,796′), and Ischinca (18,143′).  We will also spend lots of time working on climbing skills.Tocllaraju will certainly be the crux of the trip. The route finishes with a 70 degree ice pitch at 19,000ft, which is sure to be a real challenge.   For the last mountain Trip participants will be chosen to lead in place of the guides.

map-ishinca

Advertisements

Polar Star Inn (Hut Trip 2014)

In many states a winter hut trip would involve heading to pizza hut for a mediocre slice of pepperoni pie.  In Colorado it consists of treking through snow to a warm and cushy cabin deep in the backcountry.

Last year a group of us made an easy trip back to Continental Divide Cabin.  Since everyone had a blast we decided to pick a different hut and repeat the trip.  This year the group agreed to up the challenge, and go for a more remote hut.  We settled on Polar Star Inn which is a 17 person hut in the 10th Mountain Division Hut system.   We also convinced more people to join us getting the group size up to 11.

Continue reading