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  • 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
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    Afternoon at 17k on Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    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
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    Post nap surprise on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Summit on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    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
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    The best of times at Willow Lake - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
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    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
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    Long ridge walk to the summit of California Peak - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
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    Crossing el Rio Colorado . . . in the afternoon - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    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
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    Deteriorating conditions on Mt. Arkansas - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
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    After the climb - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    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

Peru 2011

Training, Gear, and a Game Plan


Training for a summer South American trip may not be physically easy but it certainly fits more into the normal routine. Our trip was planned for the middle two weeks of June so Colorado's Spring snow climbing season was to provide an ideal training regime. Beginning in early Spring, we climbed as often as we could, aiming to include steep snow and long routes to ensure that we are all in "mountain shape" but the very late snows of the Sprng of 2011 as well as individual team member's scheduling conflicts did preclude the opportunity to practice any substantive couloir climbs and or glacier travel rope work. However, some of the training climbs we were able to pull off included:

  • A very cold and windy April climb of Mt. Parnassas just off of I-70;

  • Fourteen miles of snowshoe approach to nearly gain the summit of Mt. Sneffels in the quite snow bound San Juans;

  • An attempt of Vermillion Peak that incorporated a failure to read the map which yielded the summit of Fuller Peak instead.

  • Two attempts of Wheeler Mountain, which obviously became P.T. routines due to just plain lousy weather and avi conditions.

Add to these weekend climbs the usual personal efforts that for me included 300+ miles of biking to and from work, 5 hours of aerobic group PT per week ranging from Bootcamp to Zumba routines. Also a better diet that took off twelve pounds of extra weight that really did not need to go to Peru.

Most importantly . . . we did squeeze in two trips to Los Campos II, a Peruvian Restaurant in Denver to bone up on Lomo Saltado and Inca Cola selection.


Gear Acquisitions:

This trip necessitated little in the way of new gear beyond a new set of the prussic knots, adding bit more Smartwool to the layering system and adding a couple of light pulleys to my rack to gain just a bit of advantage in the event I became a z-puller. We all loaded up on GU energy gels and the miscellaneous comfort items that make the rest days a bit more tolerable.

Expedition Plan:

Our goal was to explore Peru's Vilcanota Range, the most substantial peak in which is 6000+ meter Ausangate. We planned to fly from Denver to Miami and then onto Lima for a short layover before our final destination of Cuzco. We planned a combination tourist/rest/luggage catch up day during which we would tour Machu Picchu. from there, we were off to our entry point trailhead at Tinqui, about six hours by van from Cuzco. We planned two days to cross over Campa Pass, hopefully climbing Campa in the process. A camp in the valley was the next plan from which we would assess a climb of Mariposa, Ausangate, or another peak that caught our eye. From there, we planned to go downstream to our exit trailhead at Pitumarca, a total distance of about 80 miles from start to finish, counting climbing, recon and miscellaneous mileage.


Well, that's not exactly how the trip unfolded but we were pretty close. Most importnatly we got off the climbing trade routes, saw some country that does not see a large number of climbers and/or trekers and pulled off a trek between two points, making for an bundle of adventure.


On to Peru - Getting there - Denver to Miami to Lima and finally Cusco