Adventures in Peru

Letter 5 - Climbing Pisco

(Written in Lima, September 11th)

Hello everybody !

After Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) we had three more days left in which we planned to climb one of the technical (but relatively easy) mountains around Huaraz called Pisco (5,752 m).

Pisco is surrounded by the most impressive mountains in Peru amongst them are Huascaran (6,700m), Huondoy (6,350m) and many more. We were very excited towards this climb. The scenery should be extremely nice and also the technical part should cause us some adrenaline injection. We have to cross a crevasse (a crack in the ice) of about one and a half meters width and 10 meters deep something which we have never done...

We put a sign inviting more people to join us (with no success...).

Since it's a technical climb we took an experienced guide with us (costed 100$ US for three days) . We went to that climb just after Rosh Hashana eve, and we were quite exhausted due to the so many preparations before.

Tali with the guide.

We rented the technical equipment which is necessary for the climb (ice-axe, shoes, harness, piolets and more...), and our bags were very heavy since we had to carry all that equipment in addition to the normal one...

The walk started by a two days climb till we nearly reached the point where the glacier (the technical part) starts. In these two days we had a very nice weather and the scenery were great.

Pisco (5,752m). We wanted to reach the summit !

In the third day we planned to wake up around midnight, eat, and start to walk with torch-lights around 2:00 AM. We planned to walk at night in order to be on the top around 7:00-8:00 AM (climbing at night is something that people normally do when they climb on ice. This is done in order to be on the summit very early before the clouds cover it, and also because later, the snow is kind of melting and it becomes more dangerous to walk on).

Our base camp.

We indeed woke up around midnight (actually we didn't sleep much till then...), and had quite a bad surprise... we couldn't see ANY star which means that all the sky were full of clouds ohh, what a bad luck, we won't be able to see anything... We still hoped that the weather would change for the good...

We started to walk at 2:00 in the morning. After about half an hour we reached the glacier. We wore all the equipment and started our walk on the glacier. Our guide was very experienced and we really trusted him. We were walking in the clouds and couldn't see much.

After about an additional hour our (experienced) guide told us that we lost our way!!! Due to the clouds he couldn't identify our location. Wow, it's just a bad experience to be lost on the mountains. We did some trials to look for the right way but failed. So we decided to wait till the sun rise. Maybe then we will be more successful.

This is what we did. We waited freezing on the glacier for the sunrise. That took us about 2 hours of waiting and then the first light started. Our guide managed to find the way but to our disappointment the visibility was zero...

Snow was falling down but we kept walking. The altitude influenced us. It is nearly 6,000 meters high, so we could hardly breath and walked VERY slowly.

Around 8:00 O'clock in the morning our guide told us that we are about 45 minutes from the top. But then came the most difficult and frightening part of the climb. We came in front of a 2 meters wide and 10 meters deep crevasse, which we had to cross. This is the first big crevasse that we saw in our life. In order to cross that crevasse one has to go on a snow bridge which was 25cm wide. That bridge doesn't continue till the other side of the crevasse, so in the end of the bridge you have to make a half a meter jump. If you fall..................

It was really really frightening. I was thinking of turning back, but I had a great trust in our guide. He made many security actions and promised me that even if I fall into the crevasse he has a way to rescue me. So I took a very VERY deep breath and crossed that crevasse successfully. Nir did the same. We were happy and with our last drops of energy did our final steps towards the summit. We made it ! We reached the summit ! But unfortunately, could see nothing. Still, we were happy that we managed to reach the summit despite of all the difficulties.

On the summit we met a group of Peruvian people who were climbing too. After some minutes on the summit we started to go down. We had to cross again that crevasse (Grieta, in Spanish) on our way back and i was terrified. We walked for about half an hour and stood up again in front of that crevasse...

The Peruvian group was before us. We saw them crossing that crevasse. I watched the people who were already on the other side of the crevasse. I wish I were one of them...

To our bad luck, the last member of the Peruvian group, while crossing the crevasse, broke down the snow bridge... Wooooooow, how can we cross now??? Our guide said that since the bridge is broken there is no easy crossing and we had to go down into the crevasse (which was in parts 10 meters deep) and up again to the other side... Nir and I were BOTH terrified.

Nir went first. As we were all tight to the same rope, Nir could only go half of the dangerous part. He crossed the crevasse and set down on the 25 cm wide broken snow bridge. One of his legs is falling towards the crevasse he already crossed and the other - towards another crevasse, 50 meters deep... In this frightening point he needed to wait for me...

He didn't dare to look back on me. I knew I had no other choice than crossing back that crevasse... With great fear I went down into that crevasse and could HARDLY pull myself up.

In the end, after a lot of efforts I managed to reach that 25 cm wide broken snow bridge where Nir was sitting. We managed to cross the crevasse ! We were so relieved and expressed our deep gratitude to our guide. It took us some 7 more hours to go 2,000 vertical meters down to the road.

So that was our last adventure in Peru. We had a great time here and we really hope to be back one day. We have many more things to do here...

Eating trout fish in the market before flying back home.

Tali and Nir (We are already back home)

[ Previous ] [ Index ] [ Homepage ]

Last modified: Mon Aug 18th 19:15:00 IST 2003