Sunday, July 22, 2012

Getting High on Huamashraju 7-18 to 7-21-2012

Getting High on Huamashraju
July 18-Jul 21

I spent the night of the 17th dry heaving, unable to eat and with a mild fever.  I went to bed thinking I would not be able to stick with our original plan: a simple walk up Pisco.  I decided to pop a Cipro in the morning and after an hour I was feeling like a million bucks.

Change of Plans:
Cory and Tony had noticed I was not feeling well so they had gone out and gotten smashed that night.  They both woke up with hangovers.  I started talking with two Columbian climbers that I had a met a few days ago and they were attempting a climb up Huamashraju which was 4 pitches of 5.10 rock and steep snow hiking to the top.  I was feeling WAY better and this sounded a lot more fun than just hiking to the top of mountain.  I told Cory and we were super psyched.  Tony had a major hangover and his knee was a little sore, so he sat out on this one.

The Crew:
We linked up with Maria and Katie who were both super strong.  Katie had summited Everest and had climbed several big walls in Yosemite and Maria had an impressive climbing resume as well including attempting Gashburn 1.  They both lived an hour from Columbia and managed a Hostel.  Maria owned a resturannt and Katie guided kids in the mountains.  Not only were they strong climbers, they were a lot of fun to hang around and they ended up turning into good friends.

The Dog:
We took a taxi and arrived in the middle of village.  The girls were able to negotiate with a local Arriero to get a donkey to bring our gear into a base vamp the next day.  We plopped our tents down right where the taxi dropped us off and set up shop.  Immediatly a local dog (who we named Huamash) grew a liking to us and protected us.  He would chase away all other dogs and animals from our area and he ended up falling us the next day to our higher camp and then to the base of the route.  We fed him leftover food. 

The Planned Route and The actual route:
We planned to climb a 4 pitch 5.10 rock route onto steep snow (PD) topping out at over 17,880 feet.  We did not have a topo and could not find the start of the route, so we ended up climbing a variation that was a probably new route on the rock rated 5.8R.  It was 6 pitches of rad discontinues crack systems and face moves leading onto some spectacular sierra equivalent ridge climbing.  We eneded on steep snow and neotiated some small crevasses to the top.

Night 1:
We set down our things into base camp and started to get to know our new climbing partners.  We laughed and joked as they called us gringos.  We taught them how americans dance to Vanilla Ice (the sprinkler, the worm, the shopping cart and booty shake) and they taught us how to salsa dance.  We shared stories of our cultures and played cards inside thier tent.  They introduced us to Purro, which was a Columbian herbal remedy to help you relax.  We laughed and joked until it was time for bed.

Day 1 - The Approach and Bringing gear to the base:
The donkey came at 9am to bring our gear to a high base camp at 15,500 feet.  We followed trails up to camp and setup near a water source.  We boiled water and brought up our packs and climbing gear to the base.  We packed a follower pack with our double boots (6 pounds each pair), axes, crampons and water.  The pack was probably 25 pounds.  We headed back to camp.
Night 2 - Dinner:
Cory and I were expecting to have dehydrated dinners, but Maria and Katie had another idea.  They prepaired us an amazing Fajita dinner and we fueled up for the climb.

Day 2 - The Climb:
Beep...Beep..Beep.  It was 4 am.  The inside of the tent was all frost and Cory and I lay motionless in our sleeping bags.  It was cold...bone chilling cold.  Fuck climbing technical rock in the cold.  We call to the girls - "Trenta Minutas Mas" They respond with a resounding "Yes!"  We left around 5:30 in the morning and made our approach to the base of the route.
We had a big difficulty finding the start of the route, especially since our only beta ws "it's an obvious 5.10 line up the middle of the rock."  We looked up and all we saw were roofs coated in ice, so we opted for a route that took the path of least resistance to a notch.
P1 5.6:  We tried to wait for the sun but had no luck, so shivering in my down jacket with my numb toes in my climbing shoes, I went on my way.  I soloed up an easy crack and tip toed my way over slabs until I felt the end of the rope. I yelled to Cory "begin simul climbing." I had in three pieces of gear.  I needed to find an anchor but I could fin no cracks.  I climbed 10 feet more and found a crack filled with moss.  I used my nut tool to hollow out the moss and threw in two cams and brought Cory up.
P2 5.7:  Cory lead this traversing pitching to a large block out left about 200 feet placing three pieces and ending with a stem past verglass ice onto the block. 
P3 5.7:  I blasted up onto the face and cracks to the notch.  Awesome climbing.  I got in a snowy fist jam down low and placed two pieces of gear 180 feet.

P4 5.6:  Bomber finger crack that was easier than it looked.  Cory lead this pich past the notch and onto the ridge up and right. 180 feet.
P5 5.7:  I did some more ridge climbing.  100 feet.
P6 5.8:  A couple spicey face traverse moves lead up higher 150 feet to an alcove on the ridge.  From here we were able to spot the rapell anchors of the orignial route and changed to our double boots and crampons.
Final Snow PD:  We climbed steep snow and negotiated some minor crevasses at the top to an awesome summit
We packed up from the summit and headed down.  We had to front point a couple sections down the steep snow and we made it to our packs at the rapell.
We found the rapell with our packs hungs and did five double rope rappels straight down to the base and packed out to camp.
This was day in the mountains. Good company, fun climbing and spectacular weather.  There was a first ascent quality of feel to it (which was pretty likely).  We slept in the next day and packed out by noon.  We all met up in town later in the day for a group dinner, six celebratory tequala shots and a farewell to Cory as he boarded his bus back to Lima.  What a good time.

                                               New Route Submission to Casa De Guias:
This was our route submission to Casa De Guias
No records of the route-first ascent in the official books
The book is closed until next time!

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