Pequeno Alpamayo Route Photos
Photos of our route as climbed during the 2nd week of August 2007
View from Condoriri basecamp at eastern shore of Lago Chiar Kota. The route to the glacier departs the center of the camp and leads through the valley to the glacier. The route is mostly unmarked but traveled well enough to make following easy, even during the course of an early morning approach. Our approach to the toe of the glacier required about 50 minutes from the base camp. There is boulder at the terminus of the trail with red paint marks on it. That appears to be the "jumping on" point for the glacier at this time.
The route climbs the toe of the glacier, crossing bare ice for the first quarter mile, during our trip (remember it was August for us). The various herd paths came together when snow again covered the glacier, forming a well compacted and somewhat easy (in the dark) to childishly simple (daylight) to follow path up the glacier. The glacier has a number of rolls with terrain steeper than depicted on the photos. Though many climbers solo the route, the start of the glacier is the rope up point for anyone wishing to survive a crevasse fall.
The well trodden path led up to the saddle between Tarija on the right and Wyoming on the left. The beaten trail turned sharply left just below the saddle to traverse the base of a bergshrund and cross a major crevasse on the left. Above the crevasse the trail cut hard right and climbed the flank of Tarija. We took note on the way down that the shiny slope on Wyoming was shedding blocks of snow that might make it to the herd path if the volume of fall was significant.
Once atop Tarija, it is down the back side through class 4 terrain to the saddle connecting with Pequeno Alpamayo. The down climb had good hand holds and presented little challenge for us as we were used to similar terrain in our Rocky Mountains. After the down climb, we crossed a little bit of snow, down climbed a softening snow slope and traversed to the start of the climb proper up Pequeno Alpamayo. We kept in mind that the crossing was along a cornice and watched our footing along the way.
Once across the saddle it was a case of up and over two times before we took on more than a full 70m rope length of 60 degree blue glacier ice with thin neve cover. Some climbers are soloing, local guides seem to pitch it out and bring up their clients. Our style was simul-climbing with a screw to protect the start and two pickets following. Once atop, we enjoyed the briefly mellow slope and then completed the climb to the summit, again on blue ice with a tin neve cover. The use of fall protection is a matter of discretion but for us, protection was the better part of valor . . .the photos tells the story . . . there is some serious runout.