Huascarán Hazards - Read This!
We have decided not to offer trips to Huascarán. In recent years we have grown increasingly uneasy with the objective hazards posed by unpredictable icefall. In the summer of 2002, while we were in the Ishinca area, there were two more accidents, resulting in numerous deaths. The cause was icefall exactly in the area of concern, both in the same spot.
If you are planning your own trip, we offer the following advice.
While all mountaineering includes risk, and is an integral part of the activity, the normal route on Huascarán presents an unusually high level of icefall hazard. This hazard occurs mostly between Camp I on the glacier and High Camp at the Garganta. The hazard is unavoidable and, because it is based on serac fall resulting from glacial movement, it can occur at any time, regardless of temperature or time of day.
Your best strategy for reducing this hazard is to travel through this section of the route quickly. You can help to achieve this by using small rope teams (climb Huascarán at a maximum ratio of 2:1 with a maximum group size of 4 climbers with 2 guides) and use porters to help with your loads.
In the last 3 years, the hazard appeared especially high, more significant than we have seen in past years. Though this is not necessarily an indication of the level of future hazards, we are concerned about the possibility of increasing hazard on this route.
Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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