Success on the French Direct
SJMG Guide Andres Marin
Our expedition was just incredible. Every moment was just fantastic, in our journey to the top of Alpamayo: from our long bus ride from Lima to Huaraz, meeting great people in Huaraz, putting all our gear together in H town, taking the bus to Cachapampa, the magic hike through the majestic canyons that took us to our first camp where we spent our first night out where we can hear the Santa Cruz River running with its clear mountain water.
Our next day hike to Base camp where the first view of our objective and lots of other just stunning mountains that captivate our attention. Once at BC the UNO games start and the scores start to accumulate. The meals that Max (our chef) made for us were out of a 5 star mountain hotel. Our way up making carries and getting and higher we got to see different parts of the incredible Cordillera Blanca mountain range and the glaciers and high alpine lakes open right to our view.
Moraine camp at the foot of the main glacier was a great place to observe our surroundings. After spending the night there it was time for us to head up and get to Col camp, where cool glacier travel and little bit of steep of climbing was waiting for us. We also witnessed the strengh of our porters Zacarias and Pelayo, and that carrying 90 pounds of stuff did not slow them down a bit to climb steep snow at 16,000′!
Once at Col/High camp the hole entire SW face of Alpamayo was just in front of us with its dreamy looking ice runnels that go from the top all the way to the base. After the rest day, it was time for us to attempt the summit climb. We woke up super early with an alpine start and started heading to the base of the route. 300M of 45 to 60 degree ice runnel was waiting for us.
The climb was just fun super sticky ice and dreamy snow took us to the top of Alpamayo where, we all enjoyed our success. All of our clients climbed the route in great style, using the techniques they learned climbing with us in the Ouray Ice Park. We took some photos and started rappelling the face.
It was a very long route 10 hours round trip of just fun climbing and rappelling, before we knew it, we found ourselves back in camp, a rest day was in order and then we started back tracking our way down to BC where Rodrigo and Max had planned a fun day of rest and eating for us.
They made a very special plate call PACHAMANCA. It takes long time to make since they make a fire first, dig a hole put all the food in the hole cover it and let it cook for 45 min. It was a great feast and a great way to celebrate the success of our trip!
The next day it was time for us to start our hike down to Huaraz. We spent couple of days there and we all flew back home safe and sound. All and all it was a superb expedition full of great times and incredible views and company. I’m totally looking forward to do it again next year. I also wanted to thank Ted, Chris, Julie, Charles, Rodrigo and company for such incredible times.
AMGA Certified Rock & Alpine Guide