Peru 2011, Vallunaraju, Artesonraju & Tocllaraju • May 27-June 15, 2011

Our trip to Peru in 2011 was characterized by lots of changes in planning and itinerary. First, Kathy couldn't join us due to family health issues (she made an extended trip to the States). Then, due to a number of factors, all relatively minor but cumulatively compelling, we altered out main climbing objective from Artesonraju to Tocllaraju.

The change in objective also allowed us to complete the Santa Cruz circuit trek, a bonus we had not expected. And last, a bit of funky weather and other factors influenced some last minute changes in our Toclla ascent.

But all in all, we had a good time, going with the flow, enjoying the climbing we did and all returned safe and sound.


Other trips with some of these folks.

Peter & Lynne Staub

Haute Route - May 2009

Emery Dameron

Langtang, Nepal - October 2009
Alps - September 2008
Alps - September 2007
Kyajo Ri, Nepal - October 2006
Alps - September 2006
Banff, Canada - March 2006
Alps - September 2005
Ama Dablam, Nepal - October 2004
Paron Valley, Peru - May 2004
Alpamayo, Peru - June 2003
Mount Kenya - September 2002
Alps - September 2002
Alps - August 2001

Return to all recent trips

The crew at the Ishinca Base Camp. In the back, from left to right, are Emery Dameron (veteran of many trips with us, see the list above!), Emilio Alvarado (cook extraordinaire and head of Alvarado Adventures), Pablo (one of our three porters) Peter Staub (from New Zealand and husband to Lynne, in the center front), "El Cuerpo" (another one of our porters) Bill Clapp from Florida, and Evert (our third porter). In the front, left to right: Peter Alvarado (son of Emilio, and a UIAGM guide), Lynne (already introduced) and Mark (needing a shampoo).


As was the plan, our first acclimatization ascent was Nevado Vallunaraju, a lovely peak not far from Huaraz. This is a fun climb, not hard, but interesting, very scenic and relatively quickly accomplished, especially considering its 5686 meter (18,650 feet) height.

This photo was taken from my hotel room balcony.


Prior to starting our climb of Valluna, we spent two nights in Huaraz, and included a day-hike up to Laguna Churup, a lovely alpine lake nestled under the steep west face of Nevado Churup.

On our third day, we made a leisurely start and drove up to our base camp in the Llaca Valley, shown here. The approach to this camp was all of about 50 meters. You can just make out our van on the road above the red dining tent. Though it is not strictly necessary to put in a base camp here, we thought that moving directly up to high camp from Huaraz would be a bit too abrupt of an elevation jump.

Ranrapalca is the peak on the right and Ocshapalca is just poking from behind the ridge in the center of the photo.


With a couple hours to kill between setting up camp and dinner, we took a short walk to Laguna Llaca. Great views of Ocshapalca's impressive South Face.


The following morning, we had another leisurely start, strolling up to high camp at about 4900 meters (16,100 feet). This view shows camp and Ranrapalca.


I wandered up the rock slabs to the edge of the glacier to check out the route for the following morning (and to do a bit of photography).


Ranrapalca in the late afternoon sun, from Vallunaraju high camp.


Most of the route up Vallunaraju is a straightforward glacier, though there were some impressive crevasses.


The final summit ridge on Valluna.


Peter, Lynne, Peter and Bill on the summit of Vallunaraju. Emery was not in this photo as he was acclimatizing in Cuzco with his wife Martha. But he did join us the following day.


Lynne and Peter descending just off the summit.


After a rest day in Huaraz, we drove to Cashapampa to begin our two-day trek into the base camp for Artesonraju. The scene at the road head, packing up.


One of our many friendly and oh-so-patient burros.


Lynne and Peter on the second day of our trek to base camp.


Reflections of Nevado Taulliraju in Laguna Jatuncocha.


Alpamayo at sunset from near Artesonraju base camp.


Artesonraju base camp. We spent a rest day here, before moving up to Moraine Camp. Taulliraju dominates the view.


Bill en route to Moraine Camp.


We established Moraine Camp at about 4950 meters (16,240 feet). There were some great camp spots here, with good water nearby.


Here is the view looking up at Artesonraju from Moraine Camp. Though the weather was perfect, there were a number of other factors, all relating to risk, that compelled us to reconsider this objective. After spending the night at Moraine Camp, we reluctantly decided to head back down to base camp.


Emery, Bill, Peter and Lynne on the way back down to base.


Because we were able to arrange burros for a base camp pick-up the very next day, we had time to finish out the classic Santa Cruz circuit trek before heading in to climb our next peak, Tocllaraju.

In this photo, we are a couple kilometers away from our camp in Huaripampa.


The following day, passing tiled roofs and cultivated fields of chocho, a pea-like crop.


A curious local in Vaqueria.


A Vaqueria doorway.


Bill scratches the forehead of a new friend.


We stopped for a break while driving over the Portachuelo de Llanganuco, on our way back to Huaraz. Emilio takes in the view.


We spend one night in Huaraz, then continued into the Ishinca Base Camp. Here, we are unloading the van at Pashpa. Huascarán in the background.


The trail into the Ishinca Valley. Our objective, Tocllaraju, is the pyramid in the background.


Ishinca Valley base camp.


Lynne, Bill and Emery head up to Ishinca high camp. Unfortunately, Peter's stomach overruled his desire to join us on this day.


Tocllaraju high camp at about 5100 meters (16,730 feet) Sunset on the Aquilpo peaks in the background.


Our summit day was rather cold, windy and cloudy. Guide Peter Alvarado did manage to reach the top with Lynne and Bill, but no views were to be had.

Peter Staub (who spent the night in base camp) felt vastly better this day, and hiked up to our high camp, hoping to make a summit bid the following day. However, the funky weather, and some unexpected objective hazards encountered on the route suggested that a better option might be to return to base, and then climb Nevado Ishinca the following day. And this is just what he did–climbing Ishinca with Peter Alvarado, starting at 2 in the morning and returning in time for breakfast!


Emery heading down from high camp on Tocllaraju


With one day left in the itinerary, we went up to Emilio's house for a Pachamanca, an underground barbecue. These little fellows escaped the feast. They are cuy, an andean guinea pig, and the centerpiece of an occasional meal.


Pablo removes the cooked meat packages and potatoes from the pachamanca.


Sunlight on a leaf in Emilio's back yard.