Peak Climbed: Nevado Chopicalqui (20,817')

Route: SW Ridge Difficulty: AD

Location: Cordillera Blanca, Peru Trailhead Elevation: 13,800'

Mileage & Gain: 3.5 mi & 2,700 ft to moraine camp + 2 mi & 1,600 ft to high camp + 1.5 mi & 3,300 ft to summit

Dates Climbed: July 8-11, 2016

DAY ONE: Moraine Camp (16,400')

DAY TWO: High Camp (18,000')

DAY THREE: Rest day at High Camp

DAY FOUR: Summit, return to Huaraz

In recent years Chopicalqui has become the highest mountain in the Cordillera Blanca with an established trade route that most deem safe enough to climb. Huascaran Sur, the highest peak in the range and once a popular climb, has grown too dangerous for most to consider. In fact, a guided team of four who tried to push the standard route perished because of serac fall while we were visiting this year.

Chopicalqui combines very well with one or both of the acclimitization peaks in its neighborhood. We spent a stretch of nine days in the area, climbing Chopi after Yanapaccha and Pisco Oeste. While the climb does require a few pitches of technical climbing, the majority of the route is easier. We thought it would be a great way to get acclimated before trying other more technical high peaks like Artesonraju, and we were right.

Despite one of our partners turning bat shit crazy at high camp and trying to force us all back to Huaraz asap for admittedly no logical reason, Dom and I managed to make the summit alone. Lesson learned: always bring more than one rope on a glacier climb with other partners... or at least if you do bring just one rope, make sure that its yours! Luckily it was.

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