Huascaran Sur (6768m) is the highest mountain in the Cordillera Blanca and the entire Peru. Because of this it can have its own evil weather, something we were about to experience.
I had to fake an alpine membership in order to obtain a permit to climb Huascaran without a local guide (a silly new requirement introduced a year ago in Cordillera Blanca). The climbing permit is free, but you have to pay 65 soles to enter the national park. Even though they are introducing more bureaucracy also here in the Peruvian Andes, climbing is still almost for free compared to the Himalayas...
I met a Dutchman (Rob) in Huaraz, who also wanted to climb Huascaran. For a very cheap price we hired two donkeys and a couple of porters in Musho (3000m). Thus we got our heavy backpacks carried all the way up to the refuge at about 4700m. Next day we walked unaided up to Camp 1 (5300m), the last part on a flat glacier without crevasses. The 3rd day we climbed steeply up to Camp 2 (5900m) in an area with numerous treacherous crevasses, as well as a dangerous traverse over a distance of 1 km where large seracs are falling directly down on the route. Almost Russian Roulette, especially late in the day.
The 4th day it was bad weather in Camp 2. I woke up with a fairly light altitude headache. I also had diarrhea, probably because we melted snow of dubious quality around camp, which we drank before it boiled (to save gas). Rob did however manage to solo the lower Huascaran Norte summit in quite bad conditions (high winds and low visibility). On the 5th day the weather was no better, we started in daylight on Huascaran Sur, but eventually turned around. We had no more hope that the weather would improve, thus we went back down to the refuge and ate an old steak, hence the toilet runs started again (and more immodium needed to be taken). The 6th day we descended to Musho and took a taxi back to Huaraz (100 soles).
While Rob will head out for another peak in the Cordillera Blanca, I will be hanging out in Huaraz for 3-4 days, trying to find another partner to join me for a second attempt on Huascaran. Hopefully I will have better luck with the weather next time. Secondly I will be far better acclimatized for such a big peak. Read about the second attempt here!
Huascaran at EveryTrail