Three seasons ago, I met a friendly Spanish-Argentinian duo in the Ishinca Hut. We would be climbing Tocllaraju on the same day, them from the West Face, and me from the Northwest Ridge. I snapped this photo as a memento for them, but it ended up being my cell phone’s background for the next 2 years. I couldn’t stop looking at it, thinking about it, what an epic route.
Planning my return to the Cordillera Blanca, something in my gut felt off a few weeks before heading out. So much so that a month before flying out I dramatically reduced the length of my trip without really any good reason. Maybe I felt that my success rate of 100% in South America the previous [...]
Initially when planning my first Cordillera Blanca trip, like probably many others, I had the target of climbing Alpamyo. It’s a beautiful peak with a reasonably moderate route to the top. Logistics should be easy with plenty of companies running up and down the peak. However, in the back of my mind, I had always been more drawn to Aresonraju. I don’t actually know when it first got planted in my mind, but it was stuck in there. As I searched for an operator to support an Alpamayo climb, I couldn’t help but feel that I was selling my aspirations a little bit short.[...]
For most people who are even beginning to bud into the world of high altitude climbing, Altitude Junkies and its owner, Phil Crampton, has probably blipped onto their radar. Somehow the name is often mentioned here and there, never really being in the direct spotlight, but always with an air of prestige and hardcore-ness. Somebody over here would mention that they are always the fastest up the mountain. You would read over there that Phil saved somebody from dying in a high camp. Somebody elsewhere would say that everybody on the team are just friends and that the company is not even a guiding service to begin with. Who are these people?[...]