Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Climbing a changing Huayna Potosi

We took a lot of photos while we were travelling: 3 months x 2 cameras = 6,000+ pics. We are editing and sorting through them now. We are also working on making a few digestible slideshows, you know short and to the point, rather than repetitive and, well, ultimately, a bit boring.

Huayna Potosi is the snowy mountain in the background.
We actually saw it from all of sides before climbing
to its summit.
As we do this, we are also going to fill in some of the blanks here left by "being out there doing it", rather than being pre-occupied with web access.

This pic taken in beautiful afternoon light shows another vibrant laguna at about 4,700 m and a mountain range that is overshadowed by the summit of Huayna Potosi. We had this 6,088 m high mountain in view every day for the last 3 or 4 days of our trek. We basically walked around it.

That gave us plenty of time to contemplate the ascent we planned. Each view of the mountain is quite different. Climbing all the way up to its summit by the "normal route", also meant that everything else we had seen of it was either way harder for any kind of ascent or impossible by today's standards. In part this is due to the rapid disappearance of glaciers on these sides of Huayna Potosi. The rock being revealed as previous glacier and ice routes melt away, appears to be very, very difficult to contemplate ascending.

Much of the glaciers in the tropical latitudes are disappearing and doing so quickly. It is as if we got a close up view of the true scale of these massive climactic changes.
At the very top of the summit ridge there were lots of rocks
to content with - while on ice crampons. Rocks are hard to
navigate with them. Also rocks mean increased risk of rock fall,
one of the bigger dangers now.

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