“Mission Lunatica” and Vallunaraju peak

After the Chancos day trip, we plan a three day acclimation stay at Llaca at 4470 m. Llaca is 1.5 hours away from Huaraz by car on an adventurous road (in particular for the cars). Andy arranges the transport through a taxi driver friend of his. The taxi driver shows up on time the next morning, but after 100 m and a detour via a garage mechanic friend of his, he admits that his damper is broken. He entrusts us to another taxi driver friend of his and here we are on the road.

unlucky driver at the repair shop

from Llaca viewing down to Huaraz

Llaca comes down to a hut hosting exclusively Peruan mountain guides in training a few days per month. The rest of the time, it is occupied only by an old hut warden and occasionally by a National Park guard (since the whole Cordillera Blanca is a National Park). Around the hut you encounter granit boulders, the “laguna”, a glacial lake offering a stuning view on some surrounding peaks and curious (to me) vegetation.

around the Llaca hut

blue flowers?!

We spend two days climbing on single- as well as multi-pitches sport climbing routes bolted by Peruvian mountain guides with Italian bolts (the construction of the hut was supported by some Christian Italian organization). Locally the granit polished by the glaciers is smoother than what I have ever seen in the Alps. The second day we climb the five pitches “Mission Lunatica” route bordering huge half-moon shaped roofs.

third pitch of “Mission Lunatica”

Marius and Louis in front of the Laguna. The hut warden came along to show us the departure of the route.

In the afternoon of the second day, we pack our gear and walk to the Vallunaraju base camp 2-3 hours away from Llaca. The camp is deserted (the previous day around around 15 people had sleptover). Tent and cooking places are leveled off and protected from wind by stone walls, a stream flows in the middle of the camp and the camp is well delineated by toilet tissues …

crux to the base camp

five “soles” camp site

kitchen in real cut stone with Chilean cook

The night is cold (but we do not feel it:-) and we have breakfast in the tent. At 4 am we leave the camp and my head lamp runs out of battery… Some plates lead to the glacier. Once on the glacier, there is a good track which we follow, watching out for every minute of the sunrise and passing by impressing ice formations. At 8 am we are on the summit of Vallanaraju (5670 m) cutting a Snickers in two equal pieces with a pocket knife. At 12 am we are above Llaca and we can see three cars parked in front of the hut. It means that we are not going to walk down to Huaraz.

seracs at dawn

top mille-feuilles

top ridge

top ridge

sitting in the sun

“penitentes pequenos”

 

4 Comments

Filed under Ice, Rock

4 responses to ““Mission Lunatica” and Vallunaraju peak

  1. Pao

    Congrats guys, beautiful mount

  2. Pekeño David

    Felicitaciones Marius!!!!…Un fuerte abrazo desde Chile amigo!!

  3. Sarah

    How’s Hatun Machay in March? Is it raining a lot?

    • louisbugnion

      We were not there in March that is the end of the wet season in the Cordillera Blanca. But from what we heard it seems that it is possible to climb all year round in Hatun Machay. The weather is good in the morning and the rock dries very fast. It then starts raining at noon or in the afternoon and the climbers or hikers take shelter in the “refugio”. We were there at the end of September and we had some days like that but we could always climb in the morning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s