|The day after I arrived in Hueraz we left for Ocshapalca, and I knew that I would be hurting since I would be going from sea level of the San Fransisco to 10,000ft of Huaraz to 14,000ft of L. Llaca.From L. LLaca it was a short walk to moraine camp at 16,600ft. From the moraine camp we accessed the glacier (see route beta). After 1000ft of knee deep snow we reached the base of the American Direct and Alchimia Routes. Both exhibited significant avalanche debris and the flutings were baking in the sun. It was time to head back to camp, and to town to pick up more food if we wanted to attempt a second route. We had a nice ride down on top of a cattle truck serving as a school bus for the local high schools field trip to L. Llaca for Alpine Sports Day. As I rode a 4x4 plank (for 2 hours) Hugo talked to one of the kids (the daughter of one of our good friends who owned the resturant in town "Florentines".
We spent the night at the local Thai resturent with the owner Nari-swan (who not only had his sleepingbag and ice tools stolen on the approach to Ocshaplaca the day before but broke his arm as he rode his motorcycle back down).We spent the night eating good food and drinking beer as we joked with Neri-swan and a climber from Colorado, Eric.
Back up we went to try a safer route, the Spanish '95 route (1800ft, continuous WI4, ED1). We quickly arrived in moraine camp and settled down for a nights sleep, ok, atleast until 2am. Morning came too soon, and the all too familiar routine of dressing in the cold and dark. After a yummy breakfast of oatmeal we were off. Immediately, we left camp going up the wrong ravine to get to the base of the glacier, and instead of a shortcut we found ourselves on snow covered slab and losing time. Reversing our tracks and regaining our composure we found where we should access the glacier and quickly roped up. Letting Hugo lead, with the agreement of he leads the glacier, which I hate and I lead the ice face. Almost immediately we found the glacier travel to be rough with a broken glacier and too many numerous crevasse crossings with full body length lunges for my taste. Often I would start the lunge with wishes of being somewhere safe, like up on the vertical ice. This was crazy. Often I had thoughts of when I was a kid, sitting 60ft down in a crevasse, with an unknown distance below me, swinging in space. We got to the bergshroud as the sun rose casing its glow on Ranrapalca. I was wishing my camera wasn't in the pack with Hugo. At the bergshroud at 17,000ft we were climbing an avalanche cone of 50degree powder which we wished would end.