Peak Climbed: Nevado Yanapaccha (17,913')

Route: W Face to NW Ridge Difficulty: PD+/AD

Location: Cordillera Blanca, Peru Trailhead Elevation: 14,800'

Mileage & Gain: 2 mi & 1,000 ft to moraine camp + 1 mi & 2,200 ft to summit

Dates Climbed: July 3-5, 2016

DAY ONE: Cebollapampa (12,900'), dayhike to Laguna 69 (15,100')

DAY TWO: Yanapaccha Moraine Camp (15,700')

DAY THREE: Summit, return to Cebollapampa

Yanapaccha was our mountain of choice to kick off a three week long trip to the Cordillera Blanca, largely due to its modest height and convenient location. Quebrada (spanish word for valley) Llanganuco also provides access to the standard routes on Pisco Oeste and Chopicalqui, two of the most popular climbs in the range. We had hopes of tackling them afterward.

Despite being a great little climb, Yanapaccha is less popular than other acclimatization peaks like Ishinca and Pisco due to its increased techincal difficulty (PD+ or AD according to the two major guidebooks for the area). Perhaps the best feature of this route is the short approach which takes no more than 2 hours even for those who are poorly acclimated and laden with heavy packs. There were several guided groups at camp but we shared the mountain with only one guide + client duo on summit day.

The standard west side route this year gained the northwest ridge about 400 feet below the summit. Despite the line being in relatively easy technical condition, the climb was not without some objective risk. Several tenuous snow bridge crossing were required and the upper part of the route wound through seracs, plagued by more threatening versions hanging from the ridge overhead. The crux was a steep, broken snow pitch to gain the ridge proper, the angle nearing perhaps 60 degrees or so. The short summit ridge itself was straightforward.

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