SKI DESCENTS IN THE ISHINCA VALLEY
Tuesday, July 11, 2000
"...It would've been great just to get up into the Cordillera Blanca, really, but the fact that we summitted and skied made it that much better..."
[Click for the Last Dispatch]
[New Expedition Photos]
Led by Mountain Link guide Jake Norton, team members Porter Fox, Bissell Hazen, Wade McKoy and Moss Patterson will explore these glaciated equatorial mountains in an attempt to ski Toqllaraju (Toke-la-RAH-hoo, 6032m, 19,790 feet) and surrounding peaks in the Ishinca Valley.
The trip is sure to be an adventure, starting when the team boards the plane in Los Angeles and continues all the way to these Peruvian mountains. The Cordillera Blanca range is just 12 miles wide and 112 miles long, but it hosts more than 50 peaks higher than 18,500 feet. By comparison, there are only three peaks in all of North America this tall and none in Europe.
Besides the sheer magnitude of the compact range, the Cordillera Blanca maintains a history that is unrivaled. This is the "Land of the Inca" and thousands of ruins from this advanced Indian civilization can be found in the range. Spanish conquistadors, led by Francisco Pizarro, tore through this country, while patriots Simón Bolivar and José de San Martín fought for independence, all leaving a legacy of battles, tales and missions that still haunt the hills.
Today, the Cordillera Blanca stands as the "Next Big Thing" in ski
mountaineering. The range has long been a mountaineering destination, but has
been overlooked by skiers for decades.
Follow this expedition as it delves into the history and geography of this range, while putting forth the incredible effort it takes to climb and ski a 6000-meter peak.