Adventures In Peru – Nevado Solimana Recon Journey

Adventures In Peru – Nevado Solimana Recon Journey

At any time given that our unsuccessful summit try of Nevado Solimana final November, my climbing buddies and I have been conversing about hoping it once again. We have set a few of tentative dates, but they haven’t labored out for one particular purpose or another. As I are living around the mountain, my close friends from Lima had asked me to keep an eye on it and send out them pictures of the climbing route. This week, I last but not least received the time to hike up to the mountain to see what the route appeared like and acquire some pics.

On Monday I produced ideas for a three day backpacking trip, leaving on Tuesday morning. I had invited my good friend Max to go with me, but at the final moment he had to back out due to function. I had wanted to start off mountaineering from Cotahuasi, which is at 8,800 ft that would make a gain of about 8,000 toes in elevation. Even so when I understood that the weekly Sanchez bus for Lima would be leaving Cotahuasi Tuesday early morning at about 8:30, I decided to acquire that to Visca Grande. Visca Grande is a junction where the old foot and animal path crosses the present gravel highway in between Cotahuasi and Chuquibamba, and is the standard starting off area for climbing Solimana for those touring by bus. This would also help save me an approximated 8 or 9 hours of climbing time and 6,526 toes of elevation attain. For a cost of five soles ($1.60), it appeared truly worth it

The bus finally left Cotahuasi at 9:00 am, and thankfully it was not comprehensive of Lima passengers, so I was capable to get a seat. At 10:45 I was waving goodbye to the bus as I stood on a sand flat at 15,328 feet (4,672 m.). A few minutes later on, a minor higher up, looking southeast I could see two of the peaks of Nevado Coropuna, and on the lookout south, the north peak of Solimana. The proposed route to Solimana is to observe a trail west to the Soro River, and then abide by the river to its supply, which is the glacier on Solimana. I had hiked from the junction of the trail and the river, to the highway past November when my car broke down, and remembered it using a couple of several hours. I could not see any sense in likely that much west, when Solimana was south of me. I experienced carried out a tiny exploring a couple of days previously on my generate to Cotahuasi, and it looked like it was feasible to hike cross-place right to Solimana.

The whole superior plain listed here is volcanic sand with scattered rocks and boulders, with a small incredibly hardy vegetation. It is not flat, there are numerous gullies and hills, and occasional canyons that can be rather deep. On the other hand from my previously reconnaissance, I didn’t see any difficulties that would avert a cross-nation route. The sand is very coarse and business, and is pretty easy to wander on, not like typical gentle beach sand. I started off in a a bit southwesterly route, realizing that there was a minimal mountain involving me and Solimana that I preferred to go all over on the west end. The wind was a little awesome, but with a brisk rate and an all round mild elevation acquire in the hot solar, it made for great climbing ailments.

At about 1:30, I was just previously mentioned a shallow bowl exactly where I was delighted to see five vicuñas grazing. There have been really timid and even however I tried to skirt all over in front of them, I couldn’t get around them for a fantastic photo. I did get a good check out of Solimana, by means of a saddle in the mountain ridge that I was going all around. The vicuñas truly led me up close to the right finish of the ridge, and headed off in the direction of the east close of Solimana. At the prime of the ridge, I got a parting glimpse of the highway to Cotahuasi and distant mountains on the other facet of the canyon, and also Nevado Firura, my next climbing intention. Ahead of me was the fifty percent circle of the Solimana summits, with the glacier nestled in the bowl. There was a superior ridge among us, but at last immediately after 3 hours and 45 minutes, I was at past on a trail. It was only a faint animal trail, but it was effortless to see and was headed about the hill, so I resolved to follow it.

At 3:05, I could see the Soro River crossing in front of me, and the junction with the road (near the normal path) way off to the west of me, so was extremely pleased with my cross-place route. I am positive it have to have saved me a pair of hours and was an easy hike. Just after going down and crossing the slender river, I started off the climb up the ridge on the appropriate facet of the river toward the glacier. By now I could see that I was likely to have to go all the way to the glacier to get the route pics that I required, which induced a new program to hatch in my brain. I remembered reading through that just one of the 3 peaks of Solimana had no documented summit climbs. I was pondering that it was the peak on the proper, which is the cheapest of the 3. The middle peak is the genuine summit, which is divided from the north peak by a sharp but relatively shorter ridge. The usual route goes up to the ridge concerning the two peaks.

The peak on the appropriate, the west summit, appeared to be mainly snow totally free on the north side where I was, so I made the decision to see if it was climbable. I hadn’t prepared on climbing the mountain, so of training course I did not have my ice axe, crampons or even my large gloves. I could see two feasible routes, the snow-free north route, and yet another one particular from the east, commencing over the glacier. It was partly concealed by a minor peak, but what I could see of it was protected in snow. However it was not as steep as the north route, so I made the decision I ought to at minimum check it out in the early morning and see what it appeared like. But the crucial factor now was to get camp set up in advance of it acquired dark. It was now 5:30 and the solar was now behind a ridge, and at 17,711 toes, it was acquiring chilly fast. The solar did make a attractive glow significant up on the east ridge, which prospects up to the north summit, which of system gave me strategies for a foreseeable future ridge route try.

Of additional immediate worry however, was a point that I had recognized earlier in the afternoon, that I had overlooked to bring my trekking poles. It wasn’t a huge offer climbing devoid of them, but they also double as my tent poles! Of program there had not been a adhere or branch in sight immediately after I got off the bus at around 15,000 feet. I had been looking at utilizing my tent like a bivy sack, but understood that the inside of would be covered with frost in the morning, so that wasn’t an captivating selection. The one matter I did have was rocks of all dimensions and forms – such as flat stackable ones and significant boulders. I determined that a boulder was the best solution, and shortly located a ideal one particular at the finish of a slender flat sandy place. I acquired the tent set up, it was small and lopsided, but it labored.

Not seeking frozen palms in the morning, I slept in right until just after the sunlight started out melting the frost on my tent, and then just after breakfast obtained an un-alpine commence at 8:00 am. It was a stunning early morning, and was warming up swiftly, specially with the climbing beginning in earnest. Another modest dilemma was that I hadn’t brought my sun shades, as I never ever don them when hiking, and I hadn’t planned on getting in the snow. Fortunately there was a rocky ridge to the right of the glacier, with only a handful of patches of snow on it. It did make it really hard to admire the beautiful sights off to my still left even though, as I climbed up over the glacier. Following finding the route pictures for my friends, I checked out the east snow-covered route to the west summit. It was certainly all snow, and wasn’t overly steep, but with the penitentes (sharp fragile snow spikes) and no sunglasses, it was out of the issue.

I went again down to the additional immediate north route, which was a steep chute of scree, and appeared for the very best way up. It seemed like the safest route was to skirt the rocky remaining edge of the chute, which seemed to go most of the way up to the foundation of the peak. While looking at the route, I rested a bit and ate a snack, at 18,610 toes. At 10:34 I begun up the scree, making an attempt to come across the greatest and most solid rocks to use for foot and hand retains. It wasn’t as well complicated likely up, but I was not sure about coming down the exact way. However over in the center of the chute it was free of charge of rocks and looked like it would be an straightforward slide down.

Just before reaching the narrowest section of the chute, I was tempted to go away the scree and climb up a 10-foot rock face. Even so I couldn’t see what was higher than it so resolved to traverse more than and go on up the chute. When I bought up over that I was glad I experienced not climbed up the rocks, as one slip earlier mentioned them and it would have been like sliding down a ski soar, with a very rough landing. By now I could see the accurate west summit, which had been hiding driving a reduce peak when on the lookout from down beneath. I was disappointed to see that it had very a little bit of snow in the cracks and on the rocks. Even devoid of the snow, I am certain there would have been additional tricky rock climbing than I would have been capable to do by yourself, and especially devoid of any climbing equipment. Following wanting at the sights around the ridge to the south, I dropped my pack and hiked up as considerably as I was comfy. My GPS showed 19,267 ft, and I was almost certainly a few of hundred ft below the summit.

The sights have been great having said that, I obtained a great glimpse at the north peak and the genuine summit, which is 19,990 ft. It was extremely apparent that making an attempt to attain the summit by pursuing the sharp ridge from exactly where I was was not an option, at the very least for me. Also the rock climb up to the summit on the south side appeared considerably more hard than it did from down on the glacier. Which leaves the regular route up a gully, which does not have much snow in it, building it more durable to climb.

At 12:30 I was sliding back down the rock chute, earlier the needle, standing tall like a guard, which proved to be a incredibly quick and easy way down. An hour and 15 minutes later I was back again at my camp, completely ready to pack up and head residence. I reluctantly got some more milky h2o from the Soro river when I crossed that. There ended up a few of awesome flat tenting spots on the way again to Visca Grande, but I understood that there would be no drinking water until eventually a few hours further than that. At 4:30 I was on the lookout down into the bowl the place I had observed the vicuñas the day in advance of, which was also where by I experienced believed about camping. It was however far too early to cease while, so I continued on, pursuing a comparable cross-region route like the day in advance of.

I noticed the vicuñas once again, but from even farther absent then right before. All-around 6:00 pm I found a pair of flat destinations that would have built great campsites, but they were being lacking the boulder I need to have to set up my tent with out the front poles. I was near sufficient to Visca Grande that I decided to continue on on to there, as there was also a rock shelter there like the llama herders use. I got there just before dark, only to obtain that for some rationale it had been piled comprehensive of huge rocks. Even so there was a boulder alongside the road that was suited to use, so I established my tent up and got a very good night’s sleep, decidedly hotter at “only” 15,328 toes.

I probably could have gotten a experience back to Cotahuasi in a truck that handed by, but I wanted to wander back again on the outdated trail, and see if it was ideal for mountain biking. Glance for that story in the subsequent report.