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After climbing Pisco, I was ready for something really big.  The biggest, in fact.  My target mountain was called Huascaran South, the highest in Peru at 6768m.  I found a climbing partner, Stefan from Germany, and together we took a day to organize our 4 day excursion.  We were joined by Janet from Huaraz, who only wanted to go to Camp 1 on the glacier.  The next day we left early for the village of Musho.  Once there, we hired 2 donkeys to take our heavy packs to the Base Camp.  We climbed the dusty path through eucalyptus forest up to the Base Camp in 2.5 hours.  From there, we had to carry our weight up to Refugio Huascaran.  There was no path, just rocks quite steep sometimes.  We arrived at the Refugio and pitched our tents nearby.  After a cold night, we carried on.  For un hour we walked up some rocks and we reached the glacier.  Here, we had to change boots, put on crampons and warmer cloths.  Going up the glacier was exhausting, my 35kg rucksack was pulling me down.  In front of us, huge ice fields of Huascaran looked intimidating.  After 3 hours of walking finally we arrived at Camp 1.  It was already full of tents.  A big expedition had porters and guides, together over 20 people.

We had 8 hours to rest before the climb.  I couldn´t sleep but just lied down and did nothing.  At 10pm we prepared equipment and started by following a clear path up the glacier.  The first obstacle was a big crevasse with a piece of ice stuck in between the walls.  It looked as it was going to fall, so we crossed carefully roped up.  We could see huge walls of ice around us, climbing steeply between them.  Before we reached Camp 2, wind picked up and I started to feel cold.  My fingers and toes started to hurt.  There was nowhere to hide from the wind.  We saw some tents and decided to ask if we can rest there.  But when we got loser, it turned out to be big chunks of ice, not tents!  So we carried on.  There was another crevasse to cross, followed by steep ice wall.  Near the top of it, the rope caught my head torch and I looked in despair as it fell down and disappeared in a big crevasse.

Fortunately, the sky was already changing color and I could manage without light.  I was cold and I was counting the hours before the first sun rays hit the mountain.  Huascaran North was already illuminated by orange light and looked spectacular, but we were on the west side of Huascaran South and had to endure cold for a lot more time.  It was about -20C, but the wind factor made it feel a lot colder.  The last few hours, we were getting more and more tired.  The altitude and cold were taking it´s toll.  We had to rest every 10 steps and I thought we were never going to make it.  But at 11am, we reached a flat platform and I realized that there is nothing higher in sight.  We were on the top, we made it!!!  6768m above sea level!

After taking photos and resting for a few minutes, we started the long, tiring walk down.  I took some time abseiling down the crevasse where my torch disappeared but unfortunately I couldn´t find it.  We walked, climbed and rappelled down the mountain until the sun set.  Looking down on the dark mountains across the valley, the red sky and the black clouds, it was un unforgettable view.  Soon after we arrived at the campsite.  The climb took over 20 hours and we were simply exhausted. The next morning was windy and cold, -7C.  Against the instinct I left my warm sleeping bag, cooked breakfast and packed my tent.  That day we walked down 2300m all the way to Musho, passing glaciers, forest and finally fields where locals work in the full view of Huascaran.  2 hours later, we were back in Huaraz, drinking orange juice and with only one priority in mind- a long, warm shower!   photos