July 23rd - July 26th
I was feeling strong after my last climb so I decdied to team up with Adam and 4 bad ass Chileans the climb Ranrapalca. The mountain is 20,2017 feet and this year has rarely been summited. The route has been climbed many times, but the problem arises after the route is completed. The traverse to the summit is vey short but covered in waist deep snow which has posed as a problem for almost every other party. Our plan: Go fast, go light, go early, blast the summit before sunrise when the snow is still firm.
I backpacked into the refugio, spent the night and met adam around noon. We hiked up to the high camp. Our donkeys met us at a higher refugio and ascended to the high camp at over 17,000 feet. This height was almost the equivilant of the summit of Huamashraju. Two of the Chilians did not make it up to the high camp because of sickness, but the two others did. So the plan was two parties of two up the route.
|Crossing the snowfield to high camp|
|The view from our tent at high camp|
|Super Gringo Food - Ramen|
Beep...Beep...Beep. We woke up at midnight by alarm. The hadest thing about climbing in the Coridllera is getting out of your sleeping bag. Water bottles are frozen, condensation all over the tent, there is only one thing to do. Start up the stove and make some SUPER GRINGO RAMEN. I had some breakfast, we got all set and were ready to take off. One of the Chileans did not feel well so we joined a rope between three of us. Adam, Me and Erasmo. The route posed some navagation difficulties at night but we moved quickly. We mostly stayed roped up soloing everything but the AI3 in the dark. We got to the crux rock band just as the sun was peaking over the mountains.
|Some Steep WI4/5 that we bipassed with AI3|
|Adam about to negotiate the AI3|
|Erasmo looking ready to rock|
|AI3-Camera is a bit tilted|
|Belaying the top of the AI3|
Off Route on steep snowThe Crux:
Five pitches of mixed climbing lead to the summit ridge. Adam lead and short fixed these pitchs placing no gear only clipping the anchors. Ersasmo thought that the belay and rappell anchors were placed by adam but they were actually already there. He cleaned them all and collected 8 nuts, three dynema slings and a C4 number 1.
|Adam Solong some mixed rock|
|Looking down some of the mixed section|
|Topping out the ridge|
We could not have timed it better. The sun hit the summit just as we were cresting the ridge. snow as all compact and Adam and I blasted to the top as Erasmo rested and waited. He had enough. Adam and I carefully climbed the precarious summit ridge, snapped some shots and jetted down.
|The walk to the summit|
|Bad ass summit ridge|
|Adam on top|
|Me on top|
|Downclimbing the summit|
|The First Rapell|
|The First Rapell|
|Setting up the final Rapell|
|The Final Rapell|
Ranrapalca summit sent - a true gem! The three of us climbed the NE face in under 6 hours with a summit tag at 20,217 feet. It was a truly alpine climb in good style. Camp to camp in under 11 hrs.
When I arrived back in town, I ate some food, jumped into the shower and laid low. Tony came to me with some bad news. Gill Weis and Ben Horne (two Americans attempting a new route on the south face of Palcaraju) were five days late and Gil missed his flight. Adam and I had talked about how we were woried that they hadnt come back to town and we should notify someone. This was bad news. I had talked to Gil before he left on his climb and he seeme upbeat and positive. Adam and I spent the rest of the day coordinating with La Casa de Guias, Gary, Bens Dad and Private search and rescue.
Please see the thread and send your hopes and prayers:
Today is the next day and Adam and I spent the day running around town figuring out the logistics of a search. After speaking with Ted, we decided to aid in the rescue as an independent American climbing team. We do not want to climb the route because of strong objective hazards but will aid in a glacial search and serve as liasons on the satelite phone if needed to contact family in the states and notify them of the situation. We will pack into camp with donkeys and mountain bike to base camp. From there we will asses our need and utility. Hope for the best but realistically thinking the worst.