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Routes in Ishinca Valley

Type: Ice, Alpine
FA: W Brecht & H Schweizer (1939)
Page Views: 736 total, 48/month
Shared By: Sarah Meiser on Aug 19, 2016 with updates
Admins: Tony Yeary

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4 Opinions

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Description

Tocllaraju is a popular mountaineering objective in Ishinca Valley, one of the most frequented areas in the Cordillera Blanca. It is the most climbed 6,000 meter peak in the range. The northwest ridge is the standard route to the summit.

From high camp plod toward the base of the northwest ridge. Sometimes it is possible to shortcut and gain the ridge about 1/3 of the way up by climbing 45 degree snow slopes through seracs. This variation saves some time if in condition.

Once on the ridge follow it to the summit pyramid. This final obstacle is brief but fairly difficult, earning the route its D rating. Conditions vary widely. Most route descriptions describe two pitches of 55 degree snow and ice including two bergschrund crossings. In July 2016 (which was very dry) the route did an exposed traverse left on ice and rotten snow to avoid the higher bergshrund. Reaching the true summit also required a substantial crevasse jump at this time.

Location

Approach via Ishinca Valley. I highly recommend taking advantage of the readily available burro support to and from Ishinca Base Camp. In 2016 we paid $9/person each way. Why would you not?!

Parties typically use one camp above base camp to climb Tocllaraju. In years past this camp was on the glacier below the west face. In 2016 it was on the moraine at 16,700 ft. I suspect this is due to the fact that the glaciers are rapidly receding.

Protection

Generally a few pickets and ice screws. Most route descriptions recommend two ropes but we managed with one. Ask around about current conditions.
Chris C.
Seattle, WA
  AI2-3
Chris C.   Seattle, WA
  AI2-3
This climb took us about 8 hours to the top from the refugio, and we were moving a little slower than we'd like due to a struggling team member who turned around. There is no use for a moraine camp if you leave basecamp early.

Even with the difficulties to gain the summit, this route feels more like an AD than a D. My dart lands on AD+.

This mountain gets pretty cold and windy, bring an extra layer if you can! Jun 29, 2017