Peru Seminar: Alan Davis and Team check in - Ishinca Valley to Copa Summit
July 17, 2022 Ishinca Valley to Haraz
With a cold frosty morning and a hot cup of coffee we spent our last morning tearing down our Ishinca basecamp to head back to a night of civilization. Much to our chagrin, our bus broke down due to a leak in the air brakes. Thus, we were stranded for multiple hours on windy rough mountain roads. At least the sun was out and a rescue bus on the way. After another duffle shuffle we made it back to the hospitable Andino hotel in Huaraz with just enough daylight to dry out our tents and sleeping bags on our hotel decks. A well-deserved meal with hot showers were in order as our turnaround to head to our next objective is hours away.
July 18, 2022 Huaraz to Copa Base Camp
Another duffle shuffle and we were on our way to the Copa trail head just an hour north of Huaraz. The trail was in great condition, and we were in forests of eucalyptus until we reached about 13,000’ winding up and up until we reached our basecamp for Copa at 15,200’ over laguna Lejlacocha. The mountain was in the clouds for most of the day, but we were able to enjoy occasional glimpses of the glacier in between rain showers even a nice sunset. After a 4600’ gain in elevation, we were ready to eat a quick dinner and crawl into our warm sleeping bags to rest before our move to high camp tomorrow morning.
July 19, 2022 Attempt to Move
We were thwarted on our attempt to move from basecamp to our high camp at 17,200’ due to extremely high winds and cloud cap over the upper mountain this morning. Fortunately, we were able to rest in the sun at basecamp despite nearly losing our cook tent from the high winds ripping through camp. The winds finally subsided in the late afternoon and the Viscachas came out to play as well as the Andean geese. With the mountain looming in its majesty above our little basecamp, we came to a group consensus that we might as well try to go climbing tonight. As long as the weather stays calm, route conditions allow, and our bodies hold up, we’ll give it an honest go…
July 20, 2022 Copa Summit Push
It felt like a summer climb in the cascades, walking out of camp with only a few hours of sleep and anticipation, but we left our camp at 10pm after a cup of coffee to give it a go. 2 hours out of basecamp, past a glacial lake and through boulder fields of old, we wandered up to the bottom of an ice chute. Our entrance to the glacier. We quickly transitioned into boots and crampons and climbed the three pitches of rock and waterfall ice onto the steep snow slope that brought us to what would have been our high camp at 17,200.’ We paused here to add our hard-shells to arm ourselves against the windy night as we gulped down some gummies and chocolate covered espresso beans. As the night progressed so did the wind, sustained at 15-20mph with gusts of 30+ at our faces. Looking up between the occasional sandblasts from the sugary snow, the Milky Way and all its splendor still shone brightly, so we continued. We meandered through the steep snow slopes, crevasses, and seracs of the Copa glacier until finally the last pitch onto the summit plateau. 6,188m (20,301ft) and we arrived in a single push from basecamp. Something none of us thought we would pull off. 14,000’ to over 20,000’ and back in a day seemed out of reach, fortunately the weather was clear and just good enough that pacha mama (Goddess of the Andes) allowed us safe passage into this beautiful and sacred space. With tired bodies and full hearts, we celebrated one last mountain meal back in basecamp and slept hard to prepare for the walk back to civilization the next morning. Thankful for a safe and successful trip to this special Andean paradise.
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