Alpamayo 2012 Expedition Dispatches

Due to technical difficulties in the field with hardware we were delayed in posting the expedition dispatches.

Dispatch #9 - July 7, 2012 - Huaraz

All of the team members are now back in the States except for McLean who is today enjoying the Miroflores District of Lima. He will be on a flight this evening and back home tomorrow.

Sammy and I leave Huaraz tomorrow for the Paron Valley. We are making several reconnaissance climbs of 6,000-meter peaks for the Junkies Peru program in 2013.

The past few days have been spent cleaning gear and enjoying the local restaurants of Huaraz and the famous Pisco Sour's.

We will not be posting any dispatches from the reconnaissance climbs but will post the new Peru expedition webpage shortly after our return to Huaraz.

We apologize about the delay in posting the Alpamayo dispatches, but unfortunately, the laptop we borrowed (not a General Dynamics) for the expedition had some hardware issues rendering it useless with the BGAN satellite system.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #8 - July 3, 2012 - Base Camp

This morning at 11.30 am Sammy, Alan and McLean reached the summit of Alpamayo after 3.5 hours of climbing. They are now down at the col camp and will rest there this evening.

Tomorrow they will descend to base camp and the following day we will make our way to Cashapamapa where we will have transportation waiting to take us back to Huaraz.

Depending on what time we arrive in Huaraz and how tired we are, we should most likely be able to celebrate the teams success with a celebratory meal at the awesome Cafe Andino.

The above photos courtesy of Alan Arnette show the French Direct route and Alan, Mclean and Sammy on the summit of Alpamayo.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #7 - July 2, 2012 - Col Camp

The team was meant to make an summit attempt this morning but unfortunately the high winds present early on made us decide otherwise.

One of our team members picked up a bug at base camp and now seems to have shaken it off. Unfortunately is was now the turn o three of us at the col camp to get sick from the same bug in the early hours of the morning.

With this in mind, Rusty, Cheri and myself roped up and descended to base camp. We roped up as the glacier from the col camp to the moraine camp is heavily crevassed although most of the slots are not visible yet this early on in the season.

Sammy, Alan and McLean stayed at the col camp and if all of them feel well enough and the winds are low tomorrow they should make a summit attempt on Alapamayo.

The above photos courtesy of Alan Arnette show the section of the climb just before the rappel from the col and sunset over the col.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #6 - July 1, 2012 - Col Camp

The team are all now at col camp with the exception of Carlos and Alex. Our two strong porters met us at the moraine camp this morning and assisted us with a final load carry to the col camp before descending back to base camp. We are unsure on the amount of time we will spend here at the col so we have allocated for six days food and fuel in case bad weather halts our progress.

Todays climb was enjoyable with classic glacier travel combined with a steep final pitch of belayed climbing into the col. We experienced high winds on the col but the col camp itself was sheltered although somewhat overcast making it colder than we had anticipated.

If the weather is good and the team feel strong enough we will hopefully make a summit attempt on Alpamayo tomorrow. We had originally planned to make a climb of Quitaraju as a warm up as its slopes are not as steep as Alpamayo. After making observations of the glacier approach to the mountain and several fracture lines present on it’s slopes we collectively decided not to proceed with a summit attempt.

The above photos courtesy of Alan Arnette show some of the team roping up at the start of the glacier and our collection of ice axes, tools and pickets at the col camp.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #5 - June 29 2012 - Base Camp

Today Sammy, Carlos, Alex and myself made the climb from base camp to the col camp to deposit some additional ropes and food in anticipation of the summit push in a few days time.

The climb above the moraine camp was excellent and we were the only climbers on the route except for a group of four Europeans we encountered who were just about to descend from the col. The climb was very straightforward and the final pitch into the col involved a steep pitch that Sammy led and then belayed the rest of us.

The rest of the team rested at base camp and welcomed us back around 2pm with plentiful amounts of fresh coffee.

Tomorrow we will all make the climb again to the moraine camp where we will spend the night. Carlos and Alex will take a well deserved rest day at base camp.

The above photos show Sammy leading at the start of the final steep section to the col and Alpamayo as seen from the col camp.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #4 - June 28 2012 - Base Camp

We arrived at base camp yesterday around 1 pm and Sammy arrived at 5pm making our team complete for the first time during this expedition. We had a leisurely stroll from Llama Corral where as Sammy had to trek the entire 15 miles to catch up with our schedule. He was able to do this as he was already acclimatized from his previous climbs in Ecuador.

Today our team made a load carry to the Moraine Camp situated at an elevation of 16,200 feet where they deposited their crampons, ice axes and harnesses. The climb from Base Camp situated at 14,200 feet took around 2.15 hours and another hour to descend.

The plan tomorrow is for Sammy, Alex, Carlos and myself to make a carry to the Col Camp situated at an elevation of 18,050 feet. This will enable our team members to rest and enjoy the lush green environment of base camp in anticipation of the climb up the mountain in a few days.

The above photos show the Artesonraju as seen from base camp which some people believe is the mountain used for the Paramount Pictures logo and Alpamayo’s South-East Face on the right hand side and the Col on the left hand side as seen from the Moraine Camp.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #3 - June 26 2012 - Llama Corrall

We are spending this evening at the campsite at Llama Corral at an elevation of 11,500 feet. It’s a small jump in height gain from Huaraz and this is for a cautious acclimatization schedule to let our bodies adjust to the higher elevation of base camp.

I will take this opportunity to introduce our local staff who are listed below:

Juvencio Salazar Rosales - Head Cook
Adam Pariamanche Evangelista - Assistant Cook
Alex Salazar Yargas - High Altitude Porter
Carlos Rosales Jamanca - High Altitude Porter

Our final preparations in Huaraz went very smoothly and after re-packing the loads for the mules the collective team relaxed on the rooftop at Olzas soaking up the sun and enjoying the views of the mountains that occasionally broke through the clouds.

Tomorrow we should arrive at base camp at an elevation of 13,500 feet and get settled in. We will be spending three evenings here so each of our team members has their own personal sleeping tent.

The above photos show the fantastic view of the majestic Huascaran from the road on the drive towards Cashapampa and our campsite at Llama Corral.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #2 - June 25, 2012 - Huaraz

A couple of our team members had minor problems with delayed flights due to various reasons but all of them finally made Lima even though some were 20 hours behind schedule. Despite this, they were able to grab a few hours sleep in Lima before we made the planned 8am departure by private bus to Huaraz.

Upon arriving in Huaraz we met our local logistics provider and enjoyed his hospitality at his restaurant Cafe Andino, the main hangout for trekkers and climbers in Huaraz. Today we are taking rest day and using both Cafe Andino and Olzas Guest House as our respective bases. We will finalize all of our food needs with our two cooks and will repack our luggage in suitable load weights for the mules for the trek to base camp.

Tomorrow we plan to drive to Cashapampa and then start the trek towards base camp. Sammy is presently climbing in Ecuador and will meet us at base camp on the 27th if all goes to plan with his flights to Lima.

The above photos show the views from the rooftop dining area of Olzas Guest House in downtown Huaraz.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #1 - June 22, 2012 - New York

Welcome to the first of our expedition dispatches from the Altitude Junkies 2012 Alpamayo Expedition.

All of our team members are making their first foray into the Cordillera Blanca of Peru this summer but many have experience climbing the bigger mountain ranges of the Himalaya and Karakorum of Nepal, Tibet and Pakistan.

Due to the technical nature of this climb I am pleased to be co-managing the expedition with one of Finland's finest climbers Sammy Mansikka.

Our Alpamayo expedition consists of the following climbers listed alphabetically.

Alan Arnette (USA)
Cheri Cavanaugh (USA)
Phil Crampton (UK/USA)
Samuli Mansikka (Finland)
Rusty Schlessman (USA)
McLean Smith (USA)

A couple of the team members decided to arrive a few days early to enjoy Lima and relax in our great hotel in the Miroflores District of Lima before the start of the climb. The rest of us will arrive tomorrow at various times throughout the day and the plan is to take a private bus on Sunday for the seven to eight hour drive to Huaraz, the gateway to the Cordillera Blanca.

Once in Huaraz we will meet our local staff members. Our expedition will be supported at base camp by two cooks, a head and an assistant, and we have two local Peruvian climbing guides assisting our team with the load carries to the respective higher camps.

We plan to spend a couple of evenings in Huaraz for sightseeing and for the all important cautious acclimatization schedule. This will also allow us to finalize the expedition logistics as well as purchase some luxury food items to enjoy on one of our very few rest days.

Our next dispatch will be from Lima where hopefully we will be experiencing much cooler temperatures than we are doing for the past few days here in the North-East of the United States.

Phil Crampton

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