MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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June 21, 2012

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!