Early August conditions

It has been a little while since a conditions update was posted – sorry we’ve been away climbing.

There has been a surprising amount of unsettled weather the last 3 weeks. Very unusual for this time of year. A fair amount of snow fell in the Cordillera Real accompanied by strong westerly/north westerly winds over this period. This has improved base snow conditions in some ways – preventing the usual late season Nieve penitente formation somewhat, in some cases improving glacier travel by filling/covering crevasses and sending locals out to ski and snowboard spots that had got a bit icy to be pleasant. On eastern aspects the new snow generally compacted and iced up fairly quickly while on southern aspects this has happened quite unevenly, with firm cramponing interspersed with annoying wind crust and occasional deep drifts of powder.

Cordillera real from Chearoco looking north (1024x680)

Northern Cordillera Real from Chearoco. Late July.

Cordillera Real from Chearoco looking south (1024x680)

Southern Cordillera Real with Chachacomani in the left foreground and Huayna Potosi and Illimani in the distance.

unnamed peak sw ridge (1024x680)

Erik Monasterio enjoying good snow conditions on the SW ridge of a 5500m peak near Chearoco on a ‘bad weather day’.

Chearoco plugging(1024x680)

At 6000m on Chearoco and good cramponing turns to thigh deep plugging on a southern aspect. The upper SE ridge was reached and found to be in good condition to complete the climb. The SW ridge was deep snow at above 6000m.