High camp is a stunning place to spend the night.
Chopicalqui sits on the eastern flank of the mighty Huascarán Sur – Peru’s largest mountain. “Chopi” has the vibe of being Huascarán’s little brother but it’s still a bruiser in its own right, coming in at 6350m. If you want big, you got big.
A trip through the ever-impressive Llanganuco valley gets you to the trailhead and basecamp. From there, the order of the day is ‘up’. The first objective is moraine camp, located at 4800m. The route is well worn but steep. Chopi’s fitness rating of ‘very strenuous’ is beginning to become very obvious. Some serious acclimatisation is going to be key to your success.
Our team ascending Chopi’s huge Southwest Ridge.
The mountain towers above you as you ascend from moraine camp to high camp. This can be a cold and lonely place to spend a night. Some high quality down will be appreciated at this point.
The standard route along the Southwest Ridge is a classic of the Cordillera Blanca and comes in at PD+/AD-. However, the ever-changing nature of the mountain has meant that in recent years some crevasses and ice cliffs have appeared. The route is still non-technical but expect some exposure when making the final summit push.
The mountain makes an achievable but not to be underestimated 6000+ adventure. With the support and the knowledge of Project Cordillera, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable high.
The sunrise views across the Cordillera Blanca are not to be missed.
By Sam Gibbons Frendo, 4th July 2014