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Alpamayo acclimatization

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Alpamayo climbing program here
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Issues of acclimatization before climbing to the altitudes exceeding the zone of asymptomatic acclimatization (4000+) always arise when preparing expeditions in various mountainous regions of the planet.

High camp 5500 m on the Mount Alpamayo climbing route

Ascents of various technical levels at different latitudes have differences in the duration and intensity of acclimatization, however, without exception, all climbing programs related to staying at altitude have to include a preliminary acclimatization stage.

I wrote a separate text about acclimatization before climbing Ojos and Aconcagua. Below there are recommendations for preparation and acclimatization before climbing Nevado Alpamayo.

On the acclimatization climb in Cordillera Huayhuash

Speaking about the Alpamayo climbing program, the altitude of which practically reaches 6000 meters, it should be noted that this route not only involves a long (more than two days) stay at an altitude of more than 5000m, but also overcoming rather difficult technical obstacles at the altitudes of 5500 - 6000 m. These features of the Nevado Alpamayo climbing route require from the participants to be more attentive to the issue of acclimatization than on the other, less difficult climbing routes in the Cordillera Blanca mountain system in Peru.

Snow dome of Huascaran North

So, climbing Nevado Alpamayo is associated with overcoming technically difficult obstacles at an altitude exceeding 5000m. Most of the Alpamayo route, and especially its technical face part, is located at an altitude of 5300 - 5900 m.

Acclimatization climb to the summit of Nevado Toclaraju

In this part of the route, climbers are required not only to be able to endure physical exertion, as for example on any of the high-altitude trekking routes or simple mountain ascents. On the Nevado Alpamayo route, the group members overcome difficult technical obstacles, directly participate in the process of organizing of the protection, belay each other and the guide (if this format is provided for by the program conditions), perform complex coordinated actions within the team.

Climbing Nevado Alpamayo

All these features of the climbing route make high-quality acclimatization not only desirable, but necessary. If for climbing less difficult peaks at a similar altitude in Cordillera Blanca, it is enough to spend two or three days at altitudes of 4500-5000 meters, followed by a descent and rest for one or two nights in the comfortable conditions of the base camp, that approach is not convenient for climbing Nevado Alpamayo.

Massif of the highest mountain in Peru - Nevado Huascaran at sunrise

Before climbing any mountain route, associated with technical work at the altitude, it is necessary to achieve a stable positive state of the body, in which the critical physical loads can be combined with complex coordination work and adequate responsible decision-making.

One of the most famous and difficult peaks of Peru - Siula Grande (movie 'Touching the Void')

This result can be achieved through a longer acclimatization, including, among other things, activities related to coordination work at altitude - rock and iceclimbing training, going to technical climbing classes with a full set of the mountaineering equipment, training ascents of medium difficulty.

On the summit of Nevado Toclaraju during a training ascent while preparing the climb Nevado Alpamayo The main difference between the recommended acclimatization schedule before technical ascents, including Alpamayo, from the others, simpler (non-technical) routes, is that for the simple ascents, it is enough to get the general acclimatization, which allows you to be relatively safely at an altitude and perform work associated with moderate intense loads.

Climbing Nevado Huascaran, Peru

On the difficult technical climbing routes, significantly higher concentration and reaction speed, better physical shape are required. Peak loads on the technical routes can be several times higher than those on simpler climbing routes at the same altitudes. In addition, the technical climbing routes run on a more intense schedule and time frame - this is often a critical safety issue - any delay on a technical climbing route potentially can lead to an accident.

Panorama of the Cordillera Huayhuash, while acclimatization before climbing Nevado Alpamayo

Considering the above, it can be summarized that climbing Nevado Alpamayo, like other technical climbing routes in the zone of symptomatic acclimatization, is an event that is more demanding on the physical form of the participants, including the level and quality of their acclimatization.

This question is certainly individual, but in any case, no matter how well you endure the influence of altitude, you should not overestimate your strength or rely on a fortunate combination of circumstances.

The summit of Nevado Artesonraju, Cordillera Blanca, seen from the summit of Nevado Alpamayo

If to climb Mount Urus, Pisco or Ishinka you can try after a short trek or even to attempt climbing without acclimatization, then before climbing Nevado Alpamayo such decisions carry significant risks not only for a particular group member, but for the climbing team as a whole.

Author of text and photos Alex Trubachev
Your guide to the mountain climbing and trekking of Peru and Bolivia



Our Principles

AlexClimb Rule #1 - Safety First

From the very beginning of our activity, here nearly 16 years, the first Principle of work of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb is the Safety Priority. On the basis of this Principle all process of training is based, all programs and rounds are developed and carried out only within this main principle. We consider that at professional approach to development of programs, at personal discipline and correctly put motivation - occupations by mountaineering and rock-climbing are COMPLETELY safe. And from the return - all troubles and accidents in our sport come from nonprofessionalism, from ignorance or neglect by elementary standards of safety, from irrational motivation, from revaluation of own forces and opportunities. All these prerequisites we COMPLETELY EXCLUDE in our work - ours Rock-climbing, Ice climbing and Mountaineering are based on one Principle - the Safety Priority. In rock-climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing, the Priority of Safety of MCS AlexClimb-is your personal security and comfort irrespective of, than we are engaged - we train muscles and we work technology of the movement in the sports hall and on the rock climbing wall, we make the way through snowstorm to top or we relax on golden sand of the Caribbean beach after hot day of trainings on rocks. The Safety priority - the main credo of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb.

AlexClimb Rule #2 - Leave No Trace

Closely interacting with Nature, working with the active programs in mountains, woods, lakes and rivers, we perfectly understand the importance of carefull and respectfull bahavior towards the Nature, for its resources. From the very beginning of our outdoor-activity we adopted rules of  Leave No Trace technique - the standard of behavior of the person accepted in all the civilized world in relation to environment and especially - to the wild nature. After all on the relation of people to the nature near which they exist, itself can draw dalekoidushchy conclusions on the relation of these people to... Where and as we didn't travel - we don't reserve any garbage, we try to reduce whenever possible our influence on environment to a minimum. We clear earlier zagryazyonny tourist parking of the left garbage, we take out and we take out to utilization places that to us other people left there. We consider that only thus, at personal individual consciousness of each citizen, each tourist, climber or autotraveller, we will be able to keep the nature surrounding us in its state, natural, suitable for life, - in it pledge of the healthy future for ourselves and our children.

AlexClimb Rule #3 - Sober Concious

The position of AlexClimb Mountain and rockclimbing School regarding healthy lifestyle is quite clear - we consider that only sober consciousness is capable to fill sincere emotions,  to sympathize, to enjoy life in all its variety. Bright various enjoyable life is possible only on condition of keeping the absolute sobriety and purity of consciousness. Any way of obscuring our perception of reality is intended to do harm to our consciousness and bring harm to our physical health, to replace the true values by false ones, to destroy us physically - to turn us into flabby, weak, senseless, gray herd with empty hazy eyes. We don't force anybody to our point of view, everyone has a God's gift of making his own choice and to destroy himself if that is what he wants... But in AlexCilimb Mountain Climbing School we accept quite certain and very simple set of rules: neither alcohol, nor drugs.