Quitaraju – Alpamayo – Artesonraju

Quitaraju (6036m), Alpamayo (5947m) & Artesonraju (6025m)

In 10 long, hard & cold days we marched over 60km with a 30+kg pack, covered a total of 18570 meters in hight, left a dream to be continued, made painful decisions and I survived the most shaky moments of my life – it was an unforgetable adventure!

Day 1: Hostal “El Tambo”, Huaraz (3100m)

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The view over Huaraz from the hostal Ben dry-tooling in the dorm Preparing my gear

Day 2: Quitaraju / Alpamayo Base Camp (4300m)

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We shared donkeys with another group of climbers from Belgium Part of the beautiful 25km walk to Base Camp

Day 3 – Moraine Camp (5000m)

The brutal ascent with full gear to Moraine Camp:

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Base CampMoraine CampCol Camp Lester, Zigeiner & part of the Belgian team resting

Day 4: Quitaraju / Alpamayo Col Camp (5500m)

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A maze of ceracs & crevasses Lester & Zigeiner on top of the col Col Camp infront of Alpamayo

Day 5 – Quitaraju North Face (D) + West Ridge (AD)

2 o´clock in the morning: Lester (a 21 year old Scottish mountaineer) and I were ready to climb Alpamayo but Ben (his English friend I met a month earlier while climbing in Quito) had troubles with the altitude. We agreed on postponing the most beautiful mountain in the world (*) for the next day and we two climb Quitaraju in the meantime.

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Our route up the North Face The picture of the year! Lester placing an ice screw on the North Face of Quitaraju with the most beautiful mountain of the world in the background:-) Zigeiner working hard
alpa15 We didn`t bring enough snow stakes to rappel back down the same route so we blundered into an epic descend of the West Ridge:
Shaky hours in complete whiteout along an unclimbable ridge above 6000m where I was fighting my way through waist-deep powder on the one side and my feet breaking through into a thousand meter nothing on the other side. This was followed by a blind freehanging abseil into a crevasse and past a maze of several storey high seracs leading into a bed of stranded avalanches.
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Lester leading the sketchy descend along the West Ridge Eerie! Our way along the West Ridge

(*)= Nevado Alpamayo was voted “The Most Beautiful Mountain in the World” during a 1966 photographic exposition in Munich, Germany.

Day 6 – Alpamayo South West Face, French Direct (TD)

The exertions of the 3 days walk-in and the epic 15 hours yesterday left their traces:
At the second pitch above the Bergschrund (~5700m) the weather turned into whiteout with heavy snowfall. My gloves were frozen and I was close to exhaustion.

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Zigeiner Archive pic to show the proportions of the 500m 70-80° ice & snow face Ben or Lester?

Not wanting to run the risk of being stuck at Col Camp for days due to avalanche danger without enough gas to melt drinking water we made the hard, very hard decision to leave Alpamayo for the future and get down to Base Camp as quick as possible.

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The crevasse was so deep that I couldn´t see the bottom! Hours later at Base Camp the lovely Señora made chips & eggs for us:-)

Day 7 – Quitaraju / Alpamayo Base Camp (4300m)

alpa24Rest day @ Base Camp: Zigeiner drying himself and his gear around the tent

Day 8 – Artesonraju Moraine Camp (4850m)

Early next morning we packed our gear and hiked down the valley and up the other side to Artesonraju Moraine Camp only to find out that (due to poor ice & snow conditions) our initially planned route via the North East Face (D+) is unclimbable.

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Alternative route: North Ridge (D): Artesonraju Moraine Camp to summit: 1200m in 10-12h in good conditions;

Day 9 – Artesonraju North Ridge (D)

What are the words to describe disappointment?!
At 4:30 the following night, half way up the glacier at about 5450m we came across an insurmountable risk of ceracs and porridge snow conditions which, heated & softened up by the morning sun, would make a crevasse fall to a deadly trap for the whole rope team.

alpa27WOW! Morning glowing Artesonraju!

For the 2nd time in just days we had to make the painful decision of returning into our tents. It doesn´t need more words to describe the atmosphere… Unsettled we left Moraine Camp later in the afternoon.

Day 10 – Huaraz


Artesonraju Base Camp to Cashapampa: 23.5km with 30+kg in 8 hours 56 minutes.


Huaraz (3100m) -> Caráz: 1.5h en colectivo / 5 Soles

Caráz -> Cashapampa (3000m) : 1.5h en colectivo / 7 Soles or 1h en taxi / 40 Soles

Cashapampa (3000m) -> Quitaraju / Alpamayo Base Camp (4300m): 25km / 8-10h with donkeys (5 U$ per donkey per day – 20kg each & 10 U$ for the “arriero” per day) or 2 days without donkeys

Quitaraju / Alpamayo Base Camp (4300m) -> Moraine Camp (5000m): 2.5h with full gear

Moraine Camp (5000m) -> Quitaraju / Alpamayo Col Camp (5500m): 3-4h with full gear

Quitaraju / Alpamayo Col Camp (5500m) -> Quitaraju / Alpamayo Base Camp (4300m) :4-5h with full gear

Quitaraju / Alpamayo Base Camp (4300m) -> Artesonraju Moraine Camp (4850m): 4-5h with porter or at least 6h with full gear

Artesonraju Moraine Camp (4850m) -> Artesonraju Base Camp (4000m): 3h with full gear

Artesonraju Base Camp (4000m) -> Cashapampa (3000m): 23.5km / 9-10h with full gear

To see some breathtaking pics:

July 18, 2009  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: Peru Views: 5816

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One Response

  1. Melanie - September 26, 2009

    Flo, komm zurück, sofort!
    Du hast echt an Vollknaller!
    Da muss ma sich ja Sorgen machen, dass wir mal was passiert…