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.
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.
I knew that the trek in would be interesting when we stopped by a hardware store in Quito to buy rubber boots. We also made a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up 30 liters of water as the Campo Italiano has only a trickle of running water. It seems hard to believe at face value, but because the camp sits on a ridge, very little of the glacier melt is directed its way. Yet another reason wonder why this climb is unpopular, I guess.[...]
Upon arriving back to Ecuador for the second time, now few years later, I had all the same levels of excitement as the first, but with something very different in mind. Technical climbs. However, because of how poorly the technical climbs of Ecuador are documented, I had really very little idea of what I had ahead of me.[...]
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?[...]