Rotator Placeholder Image
  • Mt. Bierstadt Group Summit - Front Range, Colorado
  • A rest before the summit push on Dallas Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Broken Ankle + 6 Miles = Tired
  • The classic San Juan approach - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Overlooking Noname Basin from Twin Thumbs Pass - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Upper Noname Basin - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Nearing Noname Cabin - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Twin Thumbs Twins - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Nearing the summit of Pt. 13,736 - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Blustery day on Iowa Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Morning snow at 15k, Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada
  • Artesonraju from the summit of Nevado Pisco - Cordillera Blanca, Peru
  • February crowds on Gray's Peak - Front Range, Colorado
  • Kicking steps on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Final traverse to the summit of Wheeler Mountain - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • The long walk to Pachanta - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • banner31
    Afternoon at 17k on Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • banner22
    The final ridge on Iowa Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Summer summit on Longs Peak - Front Range, Colorado
  • A rest day at the Pachanta Hot Springs - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Mind over matter on Mt. Parnassas - Front Range, Colorado
  • Rest stop on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • banner30
    Post nap surprise on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Summit on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • banner23
    Ridge walking on Grizzly Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Enroute the summit via the West Ridge on Pacific Peak - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • Mule train bound for Chilca - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Taking in the view from Fletcher Peak - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • Hiking on Silverheels - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Traversing! Gladstone Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • banner24
    The best of times at Willow Lake - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
  • banner29
    High Altitude Cerebral Edema? - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • Bound for Chilca - Vilcanota Range, Peru
  • Going alpine light, Holy Cross Ridge - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Cumbre! Campa I - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Roadside lunch with the best of company - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • banner25
    Long ridge walk to the summit of California Peak - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
  • banner28
    Crossing el Rio Colorado . . . in the afternoon - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • banner37
    Dealing with Fall snows high on Casco Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Moonrise over Mercedario - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • Still climbing at 20,900 on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Talus on Halo Ridge, Mt. of the Holy Cross - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • banner26
    Deteriorating conditions on Mt. Arkansas - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • banner27
    After the climb - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • banner38
    Taking in the view from the summit of Crystal Peak - Tenmile Range, Colorado
  • Topping out on Mt. Arkansas' North Couloir - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Glissade on Mt. Arkansas - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Hard snow morning on Teakettle Mountain - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Spring snow announces the start of the climb on Dallas Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Crossing the Eolus Catwalk - San Juan Range, Colorado

Rest and Z Pulley Practice

A rest day on the glacier

The next day dawned as winter days are supposed to in the Cordillera Real, blue skies and plenty of sun to burn off the overnight chill. I came out of the tent ready for breakfast, seemingly over the worst part of the bug that had made the previous day miserable. G was up as well and we decided that we would trek up to and onto the lower reach of the glacier below Pyramid Blanca to practice our Z pulley rescue skills. The night before we had spoken with a few other climbers who had attempted the Condor or one of its side peaks and they told of a good trail but the possibility of poorly bridged crevasses along the way. G and I had not practiced the Z pulley in at least a year and since this was a rest day, a bit of work out on the glacier doing so seemed like the best way to kill time.

We loaded our packs lightly, taking rope, t blocks, biners and prussik slings in addition to our harnesses and lunches prepared by Mario. The route to the glacier is a herd path, just as we remembered it from 2001 and we likely hiked no more than 45 minutes to reach the toe of the glacier. We stopped and ate most of our lunch, in company of a large Maria, and then put on the crampons and harnesses for a walk up to the first flat area on the ice. The glacier has a steep toe that at the time of year we were there was completely bar of snow. I would guess that about the first 1/4 of the glacier was bare and craggy with ridges and sun cups eroding the surface of the ice. We found a suitable spot and laid out the rope and gear to practice the z pulley system, just in case we might need it later.

G went first and completed the evolution without any issues, followed by me as I monkeyed about a bit with the first tie off. Stop, think, and it all makes sense, not quite like riding a bike but it came back pretty quickly. I did a second set-up to be sure and then we trekked a bit further up the glacier to look at routes on Pyramide Blanca. The warming climate appears to have taken a toll on the harder harder routes as the snow ramps that are shown in the Yossi Brain guide are pretty much gone. It was difficult to tell whether the snow we saw was actually neve or alternatively blue ice with but a thin veneer of neve over top. Based upon the our climb of Pequeno Alpamayo a few days later, I would guess the later.