The trail starts off ascending through a forest and meadows before you gain the moraine.
Daniel on the moraine of the Kintzl Glacier with Huascaran Sur in the background.
We got to the moraine camp around 5 PM, which did not leave that much time for camp chores such as water gathering, cooking, setting up the tent... (it gets dark here around 6 PM). We should have left Huaraz earlier.
Here I am getting ready to pump water. I had to construct a dam here so a pool would form. The area was safe in the evening, but the next morning this area was a bowling alley with rocks that would fall as the sun hit the high mountain. Once we gathered water we set about cooking dinner. I enjoyed beans and rice, a variation from Freezer Bag Cooking, while Daniel ate Jaegertoph (beef, noodles and mushrooms). During dinner, we had a friendly discussion about who had the better meal. By morning, I think it was clear whose was better. By 9 PM we were settled in our sleeping bags for the night. Or so I thought...
Around 10 PM, Daniel bolted out of the tent, and I heard the sounds of vomitting nearby. Apparently the Jaegertoph did not agree with his stomach. As a result, the two of us got very little sleep that night. I lost count of the number of times he left the tent, but he had a very, very unpleasant night. I am extremely grateful that he was speedy each time and there was no mess in the tent.
By 8:30 AM the sun had hit camp, and I ate breakfast, while Daniel managed to hold down some tea. Daniel hadn´t slept at all, plus he was feeling weak and worried that the vomitting might return. He was definitely going down to Huaraz. Other than being tired, I felt fine. I could go up. We talked with others in the camp: J hadn´t slept much, A had diarrea, and M had a cough that may have been part of a cold. A and M decided to wait a day at 5000 m to see if they could recover enough to climb. Your body is already taxed at 5000 m, healing takes a lot longer there so I was not optimistic. J was planning to go up with a group of four from France, who also had a sick climber. This camp had turned into a hospital ward of sorts. No one was moving out of camp to the high camp with any sense of urgency and I was not optimistic about the other climbers´ health, so I decided to descend with Daniel.
I loaded up my pack with extra gear to lighten the load for Daniel, who was feeling understandably weak due to lack of food and sleep, and down we went. About a third of the way down, we ran into a porter who offered to carry down Daniel´s pack (for a fee of course), which helped quite a bit. Daniel then took some of the gear I was carrying and down we went. There was a cab waiting at the trailhead, so after I negociated the price down, we were off to Huaraz. In Yungay, the cab driver explained that there was a problem with the wheels wobbling. He helped us get a collectivo back to Huaraz.
When we got back, there was a massive stage set up in the center of town, and around 7 PM the singing started. Not good singing either, and this being Peru, louder is better (sigh). It took a long time, but I fell asleep. Daniel slept through the night and dinner and breakfast have stayed down. We´re going to try to sneak in a two day climb of Yanapaccha before our bus on Tuesday back to Lima. Hopefully, we´ll get a little more climbing in on the ¨climbing¨ part of our trip. In 21 days, I´ve put on my crampons twice.
Oh, by the way, this is Chopicalqui (6354 m):
Our route would have been the beautiful southwest ridge (AD), which follows the skyline from the right side of the photo to the summit.