|Climbing 1 - Monte Triangulo|
After a few days rest, or acclimatization to use the correct technical term, it was time to get on with what we had come here for. We split up into four pairs, Paul Bunting and Steve Ridgill, Neville Jordisson and Paul McCartney, Dave Steele and Rog Scull, Rich Wroot and Bruce Hooker. The idea was to climb alpine fashion, taking food for a few days each trip, with, if necessary, setting up higher level bivi sites from which several peaks could be climbed. Once we were fully acclimatized we would reconsider whether a more heavy-weight method was required for the two big peaks in the area : Illampu and Ancohuma, both of which we hoped to climb by new routes on East or N. East faces respectively.
To get started, each pair chose an area, more by hazard than anything else, Paul and Steve chose the Viluyo group, Nev and Paul Mac, Buena Vista, Rog and Dave, Pico del Norte, and Rich and I headed due South towards the Casiri Este.
Our path took us past the beautiful Green Lake, the the impressive Canyon, and then the less impressive, and altogether tedious, moraine fields leading up to the main ridge. The first bivi was amongst the boulders and the next day we reached the ridge just West of Haltatawa (18,300 feet) which we climbed by easy snow on the South side. To the South stretched an enormous snow plateau; relatively easy going, and which gave access to several peaks. We spent a slightly cooler bivouac on this plateau just beneath our first summit in the Southern hemishere, the views, from the Altiplano to Ancohuma, more than made up for the "cold feet in the morning" that I noted in my diary.
We had spied a small but perfectly formed triangular peak called, not surprisingly "Monte Triangulo" (about 18,500 feet). In the morning we set off towards it, traversing an easy angled snow peak, Mesketanya (18,450 ft), in the process. We dropped down from the snow field below the South face, which gave a pleasant five pitches, from the bergschrund (about 800 feet) of snow and mixed climbing. The last ten feet were soft snow, a little steeper than the rest, which, I noted in my diary as being 50░ on average.
We scrambled easily back down the West side to where we had dumped our spare gear, then back over the ridge to a comfortable bivi on the moraine. Next morning we left a dump of gear and spare food and got back down to base camp for lunch. It had been an altogether pleasant introduction to the area, splendid views, good weather and snow conditions and the scale of the mountains seemed quite compatible with alpine techniques.