PERU - After visiting the Peruvian Andes in 2015 I knew I wanted to go back. This time good friend Erik Tischner and I hatched a plan to climb Vallunaraju Peak (18,655') and Huascaran (22,205').
We had a terrific climb of Vallunaraju with perfect weather summiting about 30 minutes before sunrise. It was the acclimitization we needed to attempt Huascaran.
Upon arriving in the town of Musho to start our climb of Huascaran my throat was sore. At the time I wrote it off to the dusty roads and dry air. It got worse quickly. I couldn't sleep as a result and by the time we reached High Camp 1 at 18,000ft I was worried but waited until we reached High Camp 2 at 20,000ft to make any decisions.
I was energized and excited to be at High Camp 2 on Huascaran. The views were outstanding and the dangers apparent. We had climbed from High Camp 1 to High Camp 2 in the middle of the night when temperatures were coldest to minimize the avalanche danger. 4 climbers died in 2016 on this section. That was on my mind most of the night.
During our time at High Camp 2 I was sleep deprived and my cold got worse. It was tough to breath with a head cold. I knew attempting the summit would put everyone at risk. We were all roped-up together. I knew deep down the right decision was to go down.
On summit morning Erik went up to a successful summit and I went down. Erik was the perfect teammate - strong, reasonable and organized. Our guide Blais was instrumental in our success. He kept us on track and out of danger. For more info our the expedition service we used click here.
What's next? My gut says Denali.