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New Altitude Goals Reached on Peru’s Chopakalki

Chopakal­ki in Peru is one of those gor­geous peaks that almost always offers beau­ti­ful pho­tos of a very snow-capped peak. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that means that the snow con­di­tions can often shut out climbers from their objec­tives. We had a great strong team in ear­ly June make their sum­mit attempt. And, although the team was shut out due to snow con­di­tions, some of the team mem­bers even reached alti­tude goals and went home with big smiles on their faces. 

The stun­ning Chu­rup Lake. John Maalouf photo

The team! John Maalouf photo

MM Guide Ale­jo Laz­za­ti start­ed off the trip with a vis­it to the beau­ti­ful Chu­rup Lake and a lake­side lunch dur­ing their acclima­ti­za­tion hike. Once they had fin­ished their gen­er­al brief­ing of the expe­di­tion, the team moved up to their fist camp on Day 3 and enjoyed anoth­er day of acclima­ti­za­tion by hik­ing Chacrara­ju and the beau­ti­ful Lagu­na 69. Climber Evan L. cel­e­brat­ed reach­ing his high­est alti­tude that night at around 15,000 feet! Good thing he was feel­ing good, because he had the sum­mit of Yana­pac­cha ahead of him the next day.

Acclima­ti­za­tion hike to Lagu­na 69 with Chacrara­ju on the right. John Maalouf photo

Ice tech­niques on Yana­pac­cha. John Maalouf photo

The team pushed up to camp on Yana­pac­cha and prac­ticed glac­i­er tech­niques to get them ready for their sum­mit push. The team was feel­ing great, but that darned equa­to­r­i­al weath­er brought rain, snow and wind mixed with a cou­ple clear breaks just as teasers. For two days, the team pre­pared to leave camp, just to get dumped on right as they were ready to depart. Luck­i­ly the team was still in great spir­its as they head­ed back down to Cebol­la Pam­pa because they had Evan’s birth­day to celebrate!

Hap­py Birth­day to Evan! John Maalouf photo

Chopakal­ki brought the team sim­i­lar teas­ing weath­er con­di­tions. On June 12, the team depart­ed at 2:00 a.m. with excel­lent con­di­tions; no wind and good snow at least all the way up the ridge to the shoul­der. They climbed a 300 foot slope about 75 degrees with a lot of snow then tra­versed around to the sec­ond wall. Here, the snow was very deep and unsta­ble, so Ale­jo made the exec­u­tive deci­sion to turn the team back at 20,505 feet. Every­one agreed that this was the best deci­sion and John M. was excit­ed to cel­e­brate a new per­son­al alti­tude goal!

Chopakal­ki. John Maalouf photo

John Maalouf photo

John Maalouf photo

The trip end­ed with what Ale­jo says was an excel­lent cel­e­bra­tion with excel­lent climbers and friends, John, Evan and Raj!!!”

The Chopakal­ki team look­ing for­ward to show­ers! John Maalouf photos

Ale­jo heads out with the next team on July 1. Here’s to hop­ing the weath­er coop­er­ates this time!