2006 Apolobamba Expedition
Route Reconnaissance for Nevado Posnansky
The previous day's climb of Sunchuli gave us a viewpoint from which we could decide where climb after a rest day. From the summit, we could see Nevado Posnansky, the higher adjacent peak as well as Cololo, the primary landmark for this portion of the Apolobamba. We decided to take a shot at Posnansky but we could not see the entirely of the approach to the glacier nor the glacier beyond the crest closest to Sunchuli. To find a sure route for the next day we needed a rest day hike.
We ate a leisurely breakfast and then wandered off toward the Cololo glacier, knowing that there had to be a route up Posnansky via the spine of one of the two moraines, but we were unsure which would yield the best course. We wandered across the base of the valley, aiming for huge boulder that we planned to mark on my GPS to allow for a 0 dark thirty approach to the same point the next morning. The course across the valley floor is a hopscotch affair as you first cross meltwater troughs and mushy moss pillows then you start hopping from boulder to boulder as you climb the sinuous terminus of the moraine.
These moraines are not like those we experienced on Pisco, they are not active dirty glaciers but quite stable and form a series of terraces that you hike up and over until you reach the spine of the Cololo glacier's lateral moraine. We climbed the lateral moraine and hiked perhaps half its length to gain a good view of the Posnansky approach and route. We saw that there were at least three different couloir routes, each of which would put you on the Posnansky's ice slope, just at a different point on the peak's curving west face. We were also able to see a bit more of the ice route but discerning the angle of the snow ridge we planned to climb was not really possible. Looked at from one point and it looked to have a 45 degree slope, shift a bit in another direction and it looked to steepen to 60 degrees. We had hunch that we would be looking at neve, based on our Sunchuli climb but Posnanski has a least one obvious crevasse, easily visible from the valley below, so weknew ice screws would have to be part of the gear load as well.
It was just a beautiful day, with only a light wind, until we stopped for lunch and to take in the view of Cololo and the surrounding peaks that can't be beat. We scoped out the potential routes on Cololo but more interesting were the routes that lead from a Cololo glacier crossing point to the ridge leading east to Pts 5366 and 5335. We also looked at the logistics of crossing the Cololo glacier itself, which at the time appeared to be about half bare but served up with a healthy selection of crevasses. There appears to be a good bit of topographic fall below the glacier as it is broken up, but it does did have discernable routes across its breadth. We also looked at some of the seriously challenging routes that one might pick out from the headwall supporting the glaciers through which Pts 5366 and 5335 poke up through. My hat is off to the Brits who put a route up through what we deemed would be one tough line.
We now had a clear route up Posnansky for the next morning so we wended our way back across the terraces to camp. The Andean geese failed to note our passage as they seem to be constantly engaged in communal bickering and territorial disputes. The llamas and alpaca grazed and the local sheppard paid us no mind. The rest of the afternoon passed quickly as we sorted gear and gathered everything for an an early morning departure. Mario covered dinner but to our disappointment, Alcides' promise of fresh viscacha did not pan out.