Cordillera Blanca 2018 Expedition Dispatches - Team #1

Dispatch #1 – June 19, 2018 – Huaraz

Our team members are now spending their second full day in Huaraz, either treking for the day or enjoying some of the many outdoor cafes in town. We spend three evenings in Huaraz for cautious acclimatization and this allows us to relax after our long international flights.

Tomorrow we head to base camp and will check into the Refugio where we will be spending the next week. We hope to have successful climbs of Urus, Ishinca abd Tocllaraju as we did last season.

This season we have three groups in the Ishinca Valley keeping Jamie and myself busy for the next six weeks.

We will post an update on the climbs when we return to Huaraz in a weeks time.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #2 – June 20 – Ishinca Base Camp

We arrived at the Refugio after a one hour drive and a three hour walk up the Ishinca Valley. We will rest for the remainder of the day and take a several hour walk tomorrow to help us with our acclimatization.

The weather is amazing at the moment and we hope it continues for another week. According to the other climbers present in the Valley, which is very few compared to previous years, the large amount of snow has still left Tocllaraju without a summit this season (very close though) due to soft snow near the top. Hopefully these conditions change as the season progresses.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #3 – June 22 – Ishinca Base Camp

We are back at the Refugio after a summit on Urus. Our team left the Refugio at 4am and reached the summit around 8am. There is a lot of snow this season and there was not the usual rock scrambling near the summit that we have experienced in seasons past. We took a variation on the normal route to keep our team members on their toes with some steep terrain to climb. One rope team descended the way they ascended whereas the other team took a variation and came down by the normal route.

Tomorrow is a rest day in preparation of our longer day on Ishinca.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #4 – June 24 – Ishinca Base Camp

Another day and another summit. We departed the Refugio at 2am and reached the summit around first light, around 6am. The team made a traverse of the mountain and descended the glacier immediately below the majestic North Face of Ranrapalaca, which looks in fantastic condition this season.

To date the weather has been fantastic with not a cloud in the sky, but unfortunately it is supposed to turn for the worse tomorrow.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #5 – June 26 – Ishinca Base Camp

We are now back at the Refugio and unfortunately the bad weather we have experienced for the past two days left us unable to complete the last section of the Tocllaraju climb to the summit. Both rope teams did a fantastic job of reaching roughly 200 meters below the summit but the low cloud resulted in zero visibility and the high winds higher on the summit ridge produced very cold temperatures.

We gave it a good shot with departing the Refugio at midnight. Several other teams behind us either decided to stay put at base camp or turn around at crampon point. We feel we did the mountain justice pushing as far as we did. Hopefully the weather plays nice with us with our next group.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #6 – June 27 – Huaraz

Some of the team are now back in Huaraz, whereas another member has gone directly to climb Alpamayo with Jamie. Some of our team head to Lima tonight on the bus to catch a morning flight to Cusco and others will head to Lima in the morning and catch their flights home to their respective countries.

I have a few days to relax and catch up with emails before the next group arrives in Huaraz on Sunday. We plan to focus on watching England hopefully progress to the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Tuesday. It’s a good job our Colombian team member is on the third group and not the one arriving next week.

Phil Crampton

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