Huascarán Climbing Expedition , Peru

23 - 28 Jul 2007


All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2007. Not to be copied, duplicated or used for any purpose without permission.

Peru 2007 Page



Day 4 - Huascarán Summit Day

26 Jul 2007

Today was undoubtedly one of the all time highlights of my life. It is hard to describe the feeling of setting off from Camp 2 at 1am, probing forward in the darkness, ice axe in hand, my entire world my torch beam, the stars, the sound of my labouring breathing in the thin air, and the crunching of crampons on snow. The ghostly white of the mountain would occasionally be lit up by a flash of distant lightning. Far, far away to the east a thunderstorm over the Amazon jungle produced these eerie flashes which lit the ice, as if like an aurora of the tropics. There were voices ahead and behind, then some very steep ice climbing in the dark. Then a seemingly endless wait while clinging to a near vertical ice climb while Eli set an anchor. Then more steep climbing in the dark. We kept going up what seemed like long and steep pitches. There was not a breath of wind.

Finally, the sky grew pale and the sun's influence increased as it inched its way closer and closer to the horizon. Finally, when we were on the uppermost slopes of the mountain, the sun broke forth in all its splendour. Only here does my photo record of this amazing day begin. Scroll down and see.

This staggering scene is what we beheld from the high slopes of Huascarán just after sunrise.

By the time the sun rose we were on the highest slopes of the mountain. All the difficult steep climbing is below us. The north summit (6664m) is in the background.

Is that the curvature of the earth that can be discerned on the horizon or a quirk of the photo?

The final haul up to the summit. The going it extremely slow due to the effects of altitude. It was slow plodding, with bigs gasps of breath in between each step.
From the summit looking back at climbers taking the final steps to the summit.
The views from the top are overwhelming.
Views from the summit.
Majestic views from the summit.
Majestic views from the summit.
Myself on the summit of Huascarán.

Our entire team on the summit of Huascarán.

From left: Ashley, Adam, Carl, Jeff, Chato, Eli, Saul, Cesar.

Starting the descent from the summit.
We are now preparing to abseil (rappel) down one of the steep sections. The rope is anchored using a snow stake.
As we abseil down, this is the view that we have while abseiling (rappelling).
Here we go! Abseiling down one of the steep sections. All around is ice.
This is the bottom of one of the long abseils. You can see the tracks we made when climbing in the small hours of the morning, snaking their way steeply up the mountain.
Jeff is abseiling down one of the steep pitches.
Another long abseil.
While abseiling you need to carefully cross some crevasses that cross this face.
Another long abseil.

Finally we are back at Camp 2 after a totally mind blowing day of climbing. By the time we get to Camp 2 the cloud has rolled in and it has begun snowing. It is freezing cold. We huddle outside while we have some meagre food rations, then it is into the tents to rest.

No sleep is possible at this altitude, at least not for me.




All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2007. Not to be copied, duplicated or used for any purpose without permission.

Peru 2007 Page