We're back in Huaraz for the night. Switching to the Llanganuco Valley tomorrow for an attempt on Chopicalqui (background photo for the blog). If all goes to plan we'll summit on Sunday and be back in Huaraz on Monday.
Our week in the Quilcayhuanca Valley was a great way to acclimate. Our basecamp was in a meadow at 13600 feet with spectacular views of Pucaranra and Chinchey. We shared the 7 mile long valley with only a handful of humans and many free roaming cattle, horses and sheep. While there we did several hikes up to 15000 and a climb on Jatumontepuncu up to 17400, just short of the summit blocked by a massive crevasse and overhanging ice wall.
One thing that immediately struck us was the amount of glacial recession compared with photos from the mid 90s guide books we have. Several hundred vertical meters of glacier has melted away throughout the valley due to global warming. This has made getting on a route the most challenging part of the climb and in some cases such as San Juan made it nearly impossible to climb.
For this reason as well as weather concerns and route finding issues, we opted to forego Chinchey and change our attention to Chopicaqui. A shower, clean clothes, a soft bed and Pisco Sours were also a big influence on our decision.
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