Cordillera Blanca – Peru Skills Seminar with RMI

“Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing, moderation is for cowards”

I am struck by this quote from the movie Lone Survivor, which I am watching on my iphone as I travel by bus to the city of Huaraz.  I have certainly sacrificed, and worked hard to be here.  For the last eight months much of my free time has been spent on training, and this trip has lightened my wallet considerably.  The level of climbing these mountains demand certainly entails more risks than I have previously been exposed to.   Whether I am living a balanced life or overdoing it I’m not sure, but one thing is certain, I am happy to be here.  I am tingling with anticipation for the adventure that awaits me.  I am headed into the Cordillera Blanca, one of the highest and most rugged mountain ranges in the world.  This area has a special combination of  interesting culture, great conditions, insane beauty, and wild routes that make it a mecca for alpinism.

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How to Follow my Progress in Peru.

This page describes how you can receive updates about my trip to the Peruvian Andes (Cordillera Blanca)

Here are the primary ways to get information

  • The RMI Blog will have a daily dispatch posted with pictures and a detailed description of what we did that day.  You may have to scroll a little bit to find the updates from the Peru Seminar.
  • My SPOT Page will show my latest messages and tracks.
  • I will try to tweet updates using my spot device as well.  You can follow me @colokeith for updates


There will be a few days (shown below) that should have some interesting updates. The rest will be spent traveling, acclimatizing, and working on climbing skills around base camp.

  • Wednesday 7/2 BASE CAMP    14,400′
    Leaving Huaraz in the morning, we make the short drive to Collón (11,150′). We meet our mules and begin the trek through the Ishinca Valley. Several hours of hiking through alpine landscapes brings us to our Base Camp.
  • Friday 7/4: URUS ESTE SUMMIT DAY  •  17,800′
    We make an early alpine start to climb Nevado Urus (17,800′). After the climb, we descend back to Base Camp.
  • Sunday 7/6: TOCLLARAJU GLACIER CAMP  •  17,380′
    We leave Base Camp and climb to our high camp below Tocllaraju. After establishing camp, we settle in for the evening.
  • Monday 7/7: TOCLLARAJU SUMMIT DAY  •  19,796′
    Leaving high camp, we make our summit attempt on Tocllaraju (19,796′). The climbing is a mix of glacier travel and exciting, steep snow climbing to reach the mountain’s summit. Following the ascent, we descend back to our high camp to retrieve our gear before descending to Base Camp for the evening.
  • Wednesday 7/9: ISHINCA SUMMIT DAY  •  18,143′
    The Seminar culminates in a participant-led ascent of Ishinca (18,143′). Climbers have the opportunity to put their  mountaineering skills into action and lead the team on a summit attempt. After the climb, we descend to Base Camp for the evening

Overview Of Area

Peru’s Cordillera Blanca is one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the world. The high peaks of the Cordillera offer phenomenal climbing and ideal opportunities for mountaineering training. Cordillera Blanca is the world’s highest and most glaciated tropical mountain range.  Topped by 6768m high Huascaran there are 25 6000ers and more than 50 peaks above 5500m within this range, amongst them beautiful Alpamayo and “Paramount peak” Artesonraju. Climbing season runs from May -September. It provides long periods of dry and sunny weather only interrupted by one or two less stable days, which however may force you to wait in your tent before the summit bid.


This is a notional map of the Ishinca Valley area where I will be climbing

Prevention and Treatment of Blisters

Blisters are the most common trail injury.  They ruin many hikers day,  or worse spoil an entire trip.  Fortunately a little prevention and early attention to hot spots can usually stop a blister from forming.  Blisters are fluid-filled bumps that look like bubbles on the skin. They are caused by friction, a seam in your boot, a wrinkle in your sock, sweaty or wet socks , or an ill fitting boot.   Carrying a heavy pack, and hiking up hill increase the friction on the back of your heals, which makes the them the most common place people get blisters.

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Juliet Couloir (Mt Neva)

This weekend I met up with a couple of guys from to make an an attempt on Juliet Coulior on Mt Neva in the beautiful Indian Peaks wilderness.

We were following this route from Summit post The route is also described in Roach’s IPW book

After work on Friday we stuffed our climbing gear into Jeremy’s truck, and headed out of Denver. The climb immediately presented it’s first obstacle in the form of a traffic jam. Continue reading

Castle Rock & Parker Road Rides

This post is to describe some of my favorite road bike rides in the Castle Rock Colorado area. If you are new to the area, or new to cycling this post should help you find great rides that are not to far from home. Many new cyclists get stuck riding loops in their neighborhood. One of the best parts of cycling is getting out, and exploring your area. I hope that you will find new routes to ride. Continue reading

Continental Divide Cabin MTB Trip

Some friends of ours who moved to Wisconsin a few years ago, invited us to join them for two nights in one of the 10th mtn division huts.  I have been wanting to check out these huts for some time so we jumped at the chance.  The 10th Mountain Huts are a network of 30 back-country huts. They are named after the light infantry division who trained at Camp Hale (near Leadville) during WWII.
Our hut (The Continental Divide Cabin)


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