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Adventures In Peru – Nevado Solimana Recon Trip

10 min read
Adventures In Peru – Nevado Solimana Recon Trip

At any time because our failed summit try of Nevado Solimana last November, my climbing buddies and I have been speaking about making an attempt it once more. We have established a pair of tentative dates, but they have not worked out for one particular rationale or a further. As I are living near the mountain, my good friends from Lima experienced requested me to retain an eye on it and ship them shots of the climbing route. This week, I eventually received the time to hike up to the mountain to see what the route looked like and get some photos.

On Monday I built options for a a few working day backpacking journey, leaving on Tuesday early morning. I experienced invited my friend Max to go with me, but at the previous minute he experienced to back again out owing to function. I had preferred to commence hiking from Cotahuasi, which is at 8,800 feet that would make a achieve of about 8,000 ft in elevation. Nevertheless when I recognized that the weekly Sanchez bus for Lima would be leaving Cotahuasi Tuesday morning at about 8:30, I determined to just take that to Visca Grande. Visca Grande is a junction wherever the aged foot and animal path crosses the latest gravel road between Cotahuasi and Chuquibamba, and is the normal setting up spot for climbing Solimana for those traveling by bus. This would also help save me an approximated 8 or nine several hours of hiking time and 6,526 feet of elevation obtain. For a charge of five soles ($1.60), it seemed really worth it

The bus eventually remaining Cotahuasi at 9:00 am, and fortunately it wasn’t full of Lima passengers, so I was in a position to get a seat. At 10:45 I was waving goodbye to the bus as I stood on a sand flat at 15,328 ft (4,672 m.). A couple of minutes later, a little bigger up, hunting southeast I could see two of the peaks of Nevado Coropuna, and searching south, the north peak of Solimana. The advisable route to Solimana is to abide by a path west to the Soro River, and then observe the river to its source, which is the glacier on Solimana. I experienced hiked from the junction of the trail and the river, to the highway previous November when my vehicle broke down, and remembered it having a pair of several hours. I could not see any feeling in going that far west, when Solimana was south of me. I had finished a tiny checking out a couple of times earlier on my generate to Cotahuasi, and it seemed like it was achievable to hike cross-nation specifically to Solimana.

The entire high simple below is volcanic sand with scattered rocks and boulders, with a minor very hardy vegetation. It is not flat, there are numerous gullies and hills, and occasional canyons that can be very deep. Even so from my previously reconnaissance, I didn’t see any problems that would avoid a cross-country route. The sand is fairly coarse and firm, and is extremely effortless to wander on, as opposed to ordinary soft seashore sand. I started off in a a bit southwesterly course, knowing that there was a minimal mountain involving me and Solimana that I required to go all-around on the west stop. The wind was a minor cool, but with a brisk tempo and an general mild elevation attain in the scorching solar, it created for perfect hiking situations.

At about 1:30, I was just earlier mentioned a shallow bowl in which I was delighted to see 5 vicuñas grazing. There were being quite timid and even however I tried out to skirt all-around in front of them, I couldn’t get around them for a great photograph. I did get a good see of Solimana, by a saddle in the mountain ridge that I was going close to. The vicuñas truly led me up about the appropriate conclude of the ridge, and headed off toward the east finish of Solimana. At the leading of the ridge, I acquired a parting glimpse of the highway to Cotahuasi and distant mountains on the other facet of the canyon, and also Nevado Firura, my subsequent climbing goal. In advance of me was the half circle of the Solimana summits, with the glacier nestled in the bowl. There was a significant ridge involving us, but at last following 3 several hours and 45 minutes, I was at very last on a trail. It was only a faint animal path, but it was easy to see and was headed around the hill, so I decided to stick to it.

At 3:05, I could see the Soro River crossing in entrance of me, and the junction with the street (in the vicinity of the usual path) way off to the west of me, so was pretty satisfied with my cross-state route. I am certain it must have saved me a couple of several hours and was an quick hike. After likely down and crossing the slender river, I started out the climb up the ridge on the ideal aspect of the river toward the glacier. By now I could see that I was likely to have to go all the way to the glacier to get the route pictures that I wanted, which caused a new system to hatch in my intellect. I remembered reading that a person of the three peaks of Solimana experienced no documented summit climbs. I was considering that it was the peak on the right, which is the least expensive of the 3. The center peak is the legitimate summit, which is separated from the north peak by a sharp but relatively short ridge. The regular route goes up to the ridge concerning the two peaks.

The peak on the right, the west summit, appeared to be typically snow free of charge on the north side where by I was, so I made a decision to see if it was climbable. I hadn’t prepared on climbing the mountain, so of system I did not have my ice axe, crampons or even my hefty gloves. I could see two achievable routes, the snow-cost-free north route, and a different one particular from the east, starting off earlier mentioned the glacier. It was partly hidden by a minor peak, but what I could see of it was protected in snow. On the other hand it was not as steep as the north route, so I decided I must at minimum examine it out in the morning and see what it seemed like. But the vital detail now was to get camp set up ahead of it acquired dim. It was now 5:30 and the sunshine was presently behind a ridge, and at 17,711 ft, it was receiving chilly speedy. The sunlight did make a gorgeous glow significant up on the east ridge, which potential customers up to the north summit, which of training course gave me tips for a potential ridge route attempt.

Of extra quick worry although, was a actuality that I experienced realized previously in the afternoon, that I experienced overlooked to deliver my trekking poles. It wasn’t a huge offer hiking devoid of them, but they also double as my tent poles! Of class there had not been a adhere or department in sight immediately after I received off the bus at in excess of 15,000 ft. I experienced been thinking about utilizing my tent like a bivy sack, but knew that the inside would be included with frost in the early morning, so that wasn’t an captivating alternative. The a single issue I did have was rocks of all sizes and forms – including flat stackable kinds and big boulders. I resolved that a boulder was the most effective solution, and shortly observed a acceptable one particular at the close of a slim flat sandy area. I got the tent set up, it was very low and lopsided, but it worked.

Not seeking frozen arms in the morning, I slept in right until soon after the sunshine started melting the frost on my tent, and then soon after breakfast got an un-alpine commence at 8:00 am. It was a gorgeous morning, and was warming up quickly, in particular with the climbing starting in earnest. A different little dilemma was that I hadn’t introduced my sun shades, as I in no way put on them when mountaineering, and I hadn’t prepared on remaining in the snow. Thankfully there was a rocky ridge to the right of the glacier, with only a handful of patches of snow on it. It did make it tricky to admire the beautiful views off to my left while, as I climbed up earlier mentioned the glacier. Following having the route photos for my buddies, I checked out the east snow-protected route to the west summit. It was indeed all snow, and was not overly steep, but with the penitentes (sharp fragile snow spikes) and no sunglasses, it was out of the concern.

I went again down to the a lot more direct north route, which was a steep chute of scree, and seemed for the greatest way up. It appeared like the safest route was to skirt the rocky left edge of the chute, which seemed to go most of the way up to the foundation of the peak. Whilst seeking at the route, I rested a bit and ate a snack, at 18,610 feet. At 10:34 I started off up the scree, hoping to discover the major and most sound rocks to use for foot and hand holds. It wasn’t much too hard going up, but I wasn’t certain about coming down the very same way. Nonetheless more than in the center of the chute it was free of rocks and seemed like it would be an quick slide down.

Just before reaching the narrowest portion of the chute, I was tempted to depart the scree and climb up a 10-foot rock confront. On the other hand I could not see what was over it so made a decision to traverse in excess of and go on up the chute. When I bought up earlier mentioned that I was glad I had not climbed up the rocks, as a single slip higher than them and it would have been like sliding down a ski jump, with a pretty rough landing. By now I could see the real west summit, which had been hiding powering a reduce peak when looking from down below. I was disappointed to see that it had very a bit of snow in the cracks and on the rocks. Even without the need of the snow, I am guaranteed there would have been far more tricky rock climbing than I would have been in a position to do by yourself, and specially with no any climbing gear. After on the lookout at the sights more than the ridge to the south, I dropped my pack and hiked up as far as I was cozy. My GPS confirmed 19,267 toes, and I was probably a couple of hundred feet under the summit.

The sights were being great however, I received a very good glance at the north peak and the genuine summit, which is 19,990 feet. It was really distinct that trying to attain the summit by pursuing the sharp ridge from where by I was was not an choice, at the very least for me. Also the rock climb up to the summit on the south side appeared a great deal much more tough than it did from down on the glacier. Which leaves the regular route up a gully, which doesn’t have much snow in it, making it harder to climb.

At 12:30 I was sliding back again down the rock chute, past the needle, standing tall like a guard, which proved to be a quite brief and effortless way down. An hour and 15 minutes later I was again at my camp, ready to pack up and head property. I reluctantly obtained some extra milky drinking water from the Soro river when I crossed that. There were being a pair of great flat tenting places on the way again to Visca Grande, but I understood that there would be no water right until a handful of several hours outside of that. At 4:30 I was looking down into the bowl where I experienced viewed the vicuñas the day before, which was also in which I had thought about camping. It was nevertheless way too early to cease while, so I continued on, next a very similar cross-country route like the day prior to.

I noticed the vicuñas yet again, but from even farther absent then ahead of. All around 6:00 pm I found a couple of flat destinations that would have manufactured great campsites, but they were being lacking the boulder I need to have to established up my tent with out the entrance poles. I was close adequate to Visca Grande that I decided to continue on on to there, as there was also a rock shelter there like the llama herders use. I got there just just before dim, only to obtain that for some explanation it experienced been piled entire of massive rocks. Having said that there was a boulder together the street that was suitable to use, so I established my tent up and got a superior night’s snooze, decidedly warmer at “only” 15,328 feet.

I probably could have gotten a trip back to Cotahuasi in a truck that handed by, but I preferred to wander back on the aged trail, and see if it was ideal for mountain biking. Search for that story in the upcoming report.

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