The last couple months have been highly unusual for how unsettled the weather has been. There have been good days but most years are fine every day this time of the year. New snow on the peaks has made skiing and snowboarding fantastic (with Bolivia’s first snowboard competition being a success with plenty of powder for the event) but has made climbing more difficult.
Southern aspects at around 5300m and above have significant amounts of snow which has generally stabilised fast with the sunny days that we’ve had. However be wary on loaded solar aspects, particularly on steep slopes, as even a small loose slide can cause problems in the wrong terrain. Below is an image from Monday showing plenty of loose snow that has come off the steep southern cliffs of Charquini.
In the Condoriri area a report from last Friday from Dan Bailey:
“That nasty moraine/scree slog was half covered from about 4800m, patchy new snow that’s firmed up nicely low down. I guess it’s been laid down in the last two weeks or so as there was none lying that low prior to this. Unfortunately by the time we got to that short traverse across from the scree gully to the Condoriri glacier there was loads more new snow, completely unconsolidated. Very hard going on the glacier with about 50cm of unconsolidated snow. It wasn’t bearing weight very well, sinking to ankle or knee depth with every step. Even some quite large crevasses were totally obscured. I was hoping that a height gain might get us to more wind-scoured ground but it actually got deeper with height. We made it nearly to the base of Cabeza, but the summit ridge looked loaded and the gully was obviously going to be too. Seemed like a pretty high avalanche risk. So that’s as far as we got. On the plus side, unless it snows again there is now a trodden trail to our high point which might help reduce some of the effort for subsequent parties. I don’t think I would be hurrying up there though.”
Cheers Dan. Sounds like the Cabeza at least needs a wee while to come good for climbing. However the skiing could be superb…