Ecuador 2021, Escaping the Pandemic

Just like most people in the world, the Pandemic had been weighing on us. We had gotten a lot of climbing in this past year, but our international plans had all been canceled. And with Jessica's green card application in the USA moving forward, we knew there would be a long period ahead where travel on her end would be 100% restricted. The weather in the PNW had been particularly bad this winter, and it only looked like it was getting worse. After a number of failed climbing attempts due to conditions, we made the call to go south for a bit. [...]

Cotopaxi

My 3rd time in Ecuador. My 6th week. Around my 40th day in the country. And I had still not ever stepped foot on the famous Cotopaxi. I swore that this trip, I would change that, I wouldn't leave before giving it a shot. I say “a shot” because our luck with the weather and conditions has been fairly poor so far. A few years ago, coming to Ecuador looking to climb more technically challenging routes, Cotopaxi seemed to not have any on the list. The perfect conical shape left no nooks and crannies for “imperfections” like ridges or faces. [...]

Illiniza Sur

Illiniza Sur, Illiniza Norte’s far less popular yet much more difficult sibling, was our main objective.  Up until 2009, there were two routes up Illiniza Sur, with the most popular route being La Rampa.  As of 2017, La Rampa is pretty much just a melted out rock shooting gallery, so we would be using the other route.  Funnily enough, nobody really seems to remember what the current route used to be called back when there were two routes.[...]

El Altar: Subpeak Dreams and Avalanche Hell

Nacho and my expedition to El Altar was planned for 8 days, much longer than we spent last time here in 2017 when we climbed the main summit, El Obispo. We would hike in supported by horses to the Italian Camp, and setup (and likely tear down) a base camp. Then the plan would be to do an alpine style smash and grab of Monja Grande, and 2 further peaks (to remain unnamed for now), inaccesssble from the base camp. [...]

Carihuairazo

Spelling the name of this peak seems to be just as challenging as pronouncing the name. I practiced in my head, but when I'd open my mouth, unstrung syllables just gobbled out. The indigenous people's story goes as such. Carihuairazo and El Altar entered an epic battle against Chimborazo over the love of Tungurahua. Carihuairazo and El Altar were left battered and destroyed, only remaining as the calderas that they are today. This peak had been on my radar for a few years now, but it was more of a question mark than anything else. [...]

Cordillera Blanca 2019, Redemption

Coming back to the Cordillera Blanca for the 3rd year in a row, this time with Jessica. We very quickly scrapped our original plan we made back home when arriving. With our limited number of days and being close to the end of the season, we decided to be conservative than originally expected and tick off a few of our to-do's. [...]

Yanapaccha, West Face

Yanapaccha is another one of the lower altitude and lower difficulty peaks that I have been wanting to climb for a little while. With the funky schedule in the Cordillera Blanca this year, I thought that it would be a great opportunity to knock this one out. [...]

Huarapasca, South Route

Huarapasca is a hidden gem of the Cordillera Blanca. Not appearing in any guide books and out of sight from pretty much anywhere, this amazing climb sits relatively untouched. It is also one of the very few single day climbs in the range that can be done car-to-car. [...]

Vallunaraju, SW Route

Vallunaraju has been a climb that I have been wanting to climb since the first day I arrived to Huaraz back in 2017. Towering over the city, the peak is dramatically obvious with it’s two “horns”. Although by the standards of the Cordillera Blanca it is neither very high nor very difficult, it had been calling me. [...]