Huascaran 2013 Expedition Dispatches

Dispatch #6 - July 20, 2013 - Base Camp

All the team members are now off the hill and safe enjoying base camp life. Tomorrow we plan to head to Huaraz first thing and will hopefully make it in time for a nice lunch at one of the many outdoor restaurants.

As planned, we made the climb to moraine camp at an elevation of 4,700 meters on the 13th where we spent the night. The following day we climbed with heavy packs to camp one at an elevation of 5,400 meters. Pasang, Alex, Carlos and myself made a carry to camp two at 5,900-meters the following day where we cached food and gas for the days we would spend at camp two.

Unfortunately that evening the winds increased in strength and left us unable to climb to camp two on the 16th as planned. We had a forced rest day and hoped to climb to camp two the following day. The winds continued all day and increased in strength on the 17th. Many teams arrived at camp one and descended to base camp the following day because of the winds but our group were the patient ones and tried to sit out the storm. After four nights tent bound at camp one we had run out of time to make a summit push and descend within our time allowance.

With heavy packs we descended to base camp. Some consolation is that the winds continued for another few days so we would have been unable to reach the summit anyway. Many teams have been turned around on Huascaran this season so we are one of the many groups to be unsuccessful.

The team has been a great one with a lot of laughs and hopefully the fun will continue in Huaraz for our last evening together as a team.

The above photos show the view of the route from camp one and a spectacular sunset at the same camp.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #5 - July 12, 2013 - Base Camp

This morning we all made the climb to moraine camp at an elevation of 4,700 meters. We elected to deposit our cache of gear at the hut of the caretaker of the refugio for safe keeping until we retrieve it tomorrow.

All going to plan we will head back to moraine camp late tomorrow afternoon and spend the evening. The following day we will climb to camp one located at an elevation of 5,400 meters and spend two nights there before establishing our camp two at roughly 5,800 meters.

The traditional route has a much higher camp two located at 6,000 meters but we need to place our camp lower directly below The Shield route. We are still undecided but may descend by the normal route if we are successful in our summit attempt.

The above photos show some of the Junkies enjoying tea in the refugio and the view of the Huascarans from outside the refugio.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #4 - July 11, 2013 - Base Camp

We arrived at base camp yesterday after a three hour walk from the town of Musho. We had fantastic views en-route and established our luxurious base camp at an elevation of 4,200 meters.

This morning Alex and Carlos, our regular Peruvian high altitude porters and Pasang Ongcho Sherpa carried loads to our next camp, moraine camp located at an elevation of 4,850 meters. They will make another carry tomorrow along with all the team members who plan to deposit their climbing boots, harnesses and ice axes, etc., before returning to base camp for another night at 4,200 meters.

The Junkies tradition continues and yesterday afternoon we had our traditional 4 pm happy hour with cerveza and vino before Juvencio made us an amazing trout dinner. We are already thinking of ways to spend an extra evening at base camp enjoying his cooking before heading higher and the less appealing high altitude food.

The above photos show the view of both Huascaran Norte on the left and Huascaran Sur on the trek to base camp and the Junkies base camp with the route to moraine camp immediately behind our tents.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #3 - July 9, 2013 - Huaraz

Our second acclimatization day in Huaraz started with amazing weather and Huascaran was out in all her splendor with some amazing views from the roof of our hotel. Some of our members relaxed and enjoyed Huaraz and its restaurants whilst others went for a trek. Pasang Sherpa and I finished packing and running last minute errands.

We are planning to depart Huaraz tomorrow and head to the town of Musho where we load our mules and then start the four hour trek to base camp.

One of our regular high altitude porters Alex is already at base camp as he has just finished a climb of Huascaran with another group. According to the locals the conditions have been good this season and the mountain has already seen summits.

Next post will hopefully be from base camp.

The above photos show the view of Huascaran from our hotel early this morning and Pasang Ongcho Sherpa in front of the Huaraz Casa de Guias, styling in his Peru UIAGM Shirt that the local guides gave to him as a gift when we went to register our expedition.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #2 - July 8, 2013 - Huaraz

All of out team members made their flights to Lima without any hassle and with all their luggage. Yesterday we made the drive by private bus to Huaraz and arrived in the early evening catching a glimpse of the amazing peaks of the Cordillera Blanca at dusk. After checking into our favorite hotel, La Casa de Zarela, we all headed out to Cafe Andino for a very pleasant dinner and then the majority of us retired early for the evening as it's been a few long days of travel.

Pasang Ongcho Sherpa and myself have spent all day transferring our gear from our storage facility here in Huaraz into 20kg loads for our Black Diamond haul sacks for the mules that we use to transport our gear to base camp.

We prefer to have a relaxed start to the expedition during the acclimatization period and we spend three evenings in Huaraz at an elevation of 3,050-meters. Some of the team members went mountain biking today whereas others decided to explore the town at a more relaxed pace. Tomorrow, Pasang and I will continue to pack the expedition food with our local cooks and high altitude porters and hopefully we get finished early enough to enjoy a final relaxing afternoon and evening in Huaraz before we head to the mountain.

The above photos show our jet-lagged and tired team making an early morning departure from Lima and the view of Huaraz from the patio of La Casa de Zarela.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #1 - July 5, 2013 - New York

Welcome to the expedition dispatches for the Altitude Junkies Huascaran 2013 climb. We are very excited to be heading to back to Peru for another climbing season in the awesome Cordillera Blanca. Our first climb of the season will be the highest peak in Peru, Huascaran Sur, standing at 6,768-meters above sea level.

As usual, the Junkies expeditions always consist of a group of international climbers and this year we have six different nationalities being represented. We are also very proud to bring one of Nepal's few certified UIAGM guides, Pasang Ongcho Sherpa, over to Peru for the season. Pasang is our climbing Sirdar on our Everest, Lhotse and Manaslu expeditions and works very closely with our 'Big Boss', our highly respected expedition Sirdar, Dorje Sherpa.

The team consists of the following climbers and the names are listed alphabetically:

Phil Crampton (UK/USA)
Andreas Gehrig (Switzerland)
Jarno Laiho (Finland)
Norris Merrit (USA)
Ernie Reibeling (South Africa)
Matti Ristinen (Finland)
Pasang Ongcho Sherpa (Nepal)

Several of our team members will be arriving in Lima today and the remainder will follow suit and arrive tomorrow. The plan is to take a private luxury mini-bus to Huaraz on the morning of the 7th where we will check into our favorite funky digs, La Casa de Zarella. We will spend three nights in Huaraz for cautious acclimatization but no doubt we will find some Pisco Sours somewhere to enjoy during the evenings so it should pass quickly.

We are using this expedition as both a high altitude climb of Peru's highest peak but also as our 8,000-meter preparation climb. Whilst at base camp and during our acclimatization schedule, we will discuss all the techniques and tips for climbing an 8,000-meter peak successfully. We think Huascaran is a perfect stepping stone for those climbers wishing to climb the giant peaks of the Himalayas such as Manaslu, Shishapangma and Cho Oyu in the future and a better experience than trekking up the two normal routes on Aconcagua.

Phil Crampton

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