Practice Run No.2: Acclimatisation Day Walk

In Practice Run No.2by Steve

First view of Chopicalqui

Today was just an acclimatisation day hike in the local valley from Huaraz. Went to 4100m and was feeling good. Pretty pleased, because while I didn’t admit it in my email yesterday, I was feeling…. let’s just say… far from ideal at that stage, having been plagued with throbbing headaches, nausea, stomach pains, etc all day. I put it down to a concoction of jet lag, lack of sleep, dehydration, a sudden altitude jump, side effects from malaria tablets, and maybe, just maybe, a mild hangover. But feeling much better today. Malaria tablets are still not agreeing with me. I think I’ll give them one more day then if it doesn’t improve, just take my chances with the mozzies, which by the way, I haven’t seen a single one yet.

Attached is a photo from today’s walk. The mountain I am pointing at is Chopicalqui. At 6354m, she is still some 2.25 vertical kilometres above me, more than the total height of Kosciusko. If all goes to plan, and if the weather behaves itself, in one more week I should be positioned at high camp ready for an attempt at the summit.

In front of Chopicalqui is Huascaran, at 6768m she is the highest in Peru. When planning this trip, I initially wanted to make her my primary objective. For myself, I have always believed in aiming for the biggest, aiming for the best, or not wasting your time. But after reading track notes on Huascaran, over the past few years, objective dangers on the approach route (crevasses, ice fall, avalanche, etc), have become very high. I am happy taking calculated risks, risks which can be partially mitigated through proper preparation and planning, and through using the right skills, techniques and strategies on the hill. But I am not here to play Russian Roulette. So after a lot of deliberation, I decided to scrap Huascaran and substitute it for Alpamayo. Alpamayo being slightly lower and safer in terms of objective dangers, but technically much harder. Still wondering if I’ve made the right decision…