Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Suiricocha North Face Climb

Suiricocha North Face Climb Open the new route : Everything Is Possible
1/ The approach
The approach to the glacier was a mess. To reach the glacier either we go down the moraine or up the moraine then go down. We decide to go up but there was no way to go down, it was very steep cliffs. So we turn back, and go down the moraine. The way was clear. Our last obstacle was to find a way to cross a river. It did not take us too much time so we had been lucky. We reach the glacier at 4:25 am. We spend more than an hour which put us right away behind schedule. Once you reach the glacier, you put on harness and crampons.
2/ The glacier traverse
The glacier part is the approach to your face that you will climb. Glacier are tricky due to the numerous crevasses. From the distance this glacier does not seem too active, pretty flat, and we expected not difficulty. Unfortunately, the glacier was nest of crevasses, it felt like if you were in the middle of a eggs field, which indeed you will smash eggs at any steps.This glacier is full of crevasses in every possible way, it was dark, we could not see anything. So we start walking pretty slowly which made even more behind schedule. The freaky part was the big noise of the crevasses cracking under your steps. So it was nothing like relaxing to traverse that glacier.
3/ Climb
Snow was in excellent condition. We both felt very strong, and very confident. So we start our climb by climbing together, just linked to each other. It was feeling really good, that we climbed like that more half of the face. A smooth, efficient climbing. Sun start shining, it was around 7am. Angle was between 45 to 80degree. So far the climb was pretty straight forward. Then we approached to the final part which includes climbing a channel. We decide to go that way when we prepare our climb the day before. This part was a little more tricky as it required to rock climb, with ice axe and crampons.Per safety we used snow pickets.
4/ Fake Summit Unfortunately, that summit was a fake summit. When we looked up we saw a big rock that we assumed was summit. Beto decided to try to turn around the big rock to see if there is a snow channel that we can used. When you are opening a route you have a rough idea of the way you want to go but there is still a high level of uncertainty of what you gonna find. That is why you need to explore. In that case, Beto had been successful in his exploration and find a way to the summit made of broken hard ice and rocks. This very last part is very psychological.
5/ Summit
We arrived at summit at 9am. We climbed the 8/9 pitches face very fast, in about 3h. The view is stunning. There is no word to express this beauty. The sky color range was from almost white to blue. It was beautiful. We rest a little, eat, take pictures, then go down. 6/Climbed down We went down straightway. Rappel was good. But we had to go down fast until we find a safe place. Because on our way up, we broke big piece of hard ice which if they fall could create either avalanche or rock fall. We did not have enough snow pickets, so we down climbed for a short time. We both felt very strong so it was very fine. (you do not use protection when you down climb so you are more exposed) 7/ safe place We rest, eat, relax. We were at the beginning of the glacier 8/ glacier traverse With the day light we can really appreciate the size of the crevasse. Once again this phase was delicate. We saw some lack in the glacier as deep as 40ish meters. At one point we had to wak on the ridge of 2 giant crevasses. I was not really happy about it. The rescue technique was jumping in the other side. So if I fall in crevasse a. Beto will jump in crevasse b. 9/ back to base camp

1 comment:

  1. Hello Sophie.......I've been following your climb.....great pictures(understatement) ....Betty (Bret's aunt)