Located in the Northern Andes, the Cordillera Blanca of Peru is one the world’s foremost mountaineering arenas. The breathtaking pyramids of snow and ice that make up ‘The Blanca,’ as it’s respectfully referred to, soar up to 22,200′ and contain more than 30 peaks over 18,000′ tall. Due to the fact that these grandiose mountains are so easy to access, our expeditions to this region enjoy more time climbing in the alpine zone and learning mountaineering skills and less time on the approach to base camp. We will aim to climb Urus (~17,900′), Ishinca (~18,200′) Tocllaraju (~20,000′) and possibly Ranrapalca (~20,000′). The ultimate goal of the expedition will be for students to be leading the summit bids on these glaciated peaks and to learn the skills needed to lead similar expeditions on their own.

Highlights include:

  • High altitude climbing up to ~20,000′
  • Rescue skills for professional mountain guides (rock, ice, avalanche, and glacier rescue)
  • Avalanche terrain and snowpack assessment
  • Snow and alpine-ice climbing
  • Leadership skills for aspiring mountain guides/outdoor educators

College Credit: 3-5 (Contact us for details)

2017 Dates:
May 15-June 4 (5/7 spots filled)
June 8-28 (5/7 spots filled)

Course Cost: $2,947

Scholarships available:

SIET General Scholarship-2017
50-50 Scholarship 2017

Certificates of Completion Available:

  • Avalanche Field Course
  • Companion Rescue
  • LNT Trainer (optional)
  • SIET Advanced Mountaineering Course Diploma

Gear Checklist High Altitude Expeditions
Prerequisites for Ishinca Expeditions

Course Description:

This course starts in Lima, Peru where all expedition members will meet at 8am on the first day of the course for an orientation. We will take a bus (~8hrs) to the beautiful mountain town of Huaraz (~10,000′) where we will stay in a family-run bed and breakfast called Familia Meza. We will spend the following three days organizing food and gear, acclimatizing and preparing for the mountains. After a half day of driving and a half day of hiking, we will arrive at our base camp at about 14,300′ in the Ishinca Valley. We will spend the remainder of the trip developing educational outcomes and making summit attempts from our base camp. The expedition will be supported by burros and burro drivers, known as ‘arrieros,’ as well as a camp cook/watchman.

“The location is one that I will never forget and will definitely return to. I also thought the Blanca served the purpose very well as a mountaineering and international expedition training ground.” -Dane Sterba, Prescott College

expedition-training-mountaineers

Detailed Course Curriculum:

  • Security in Developing Nations
    • personal and group security techniques
    • options for emergency scenarios
  • International Travel Considerations
    • respecting culture specific etiquette
    • cultural expectations: the dangers of bringing U.S. expectations to other cultures
  • Nutritional Considerations
    • carb/fat/protein ratios for high altitude
    • ration planning formulas for creating a meal plan
  • Organizing an Expedition
    • obtaining food, fuel, and transportation
  • Conducting Business with Porter & Cooks
    • what they will expect from you
    • what you can expect from them
  • Camp Craft: Advanced techniques
    • tents, kitchens, snow camping, storm proofing, etc
  • Equipment
    • appropriate use and care
    • common industry standards
  • Leave No Trace Principles
    • the 7 LNT Principles
    • the LNT Trainer Certification is optional
  • Leadership Techniques
    • creating and maintaining an effective group dynamic
    • expedition behavior
    • communication
    • conducting meaningful debriefs
  • Risk Management
    • risk assessment
    • conducting evacuations
    • creating route time plans
    • common industry standards
    • acceptable risk
    • case scenarios
  • High Altitude Physiology
    • acclimatizing strategies
    • AMS, HAPE and HACE: signs and symptoms, treatment, evacuations and common industry standards
    • heart rate and oximeter charts
    • case scenarios
  • Avalanche Terrain Assessment
  • Glaciology and Basic Geology
    • glacier dynamics and features
    • reading glaciers
    • mountain building
  • Glacier Travel and Rigging
    • route finding
    • rope team drills
    • rope team communication 
    • common industry standards
  • Rope Team Management
    • belaying
    • movement
    • communication
    • running protection
    • creating perimeter camps
  • Meteorology: Mountain Weather
    • forecasting
    • charting local trends
  • Snow/Ice Climbing
    • crampon and ice axe techniques
    • movement
    • track setting
  • Snow/Ice Anchors
    • picket placement techniques
    • ice screw and abalokov anchors
    • anchor assessment
  • Crevasse Rescue
    • pulley systems
    • rescue drills
    • common industry standards

Not included in the curriculum:

expedition-training-breifingThis is an advanced mountaineering course. In order for all students to start and stay on the same page, it is imperative that all students on international expeditions come to the course ready to receive a brush up on fundamental skills (tips and tricks for tent pitching, snow camping, stove use/cooking, pack packing, etc) and ready to focus on more complex skills such as those listed above. Please see the ‘Prerequisites’ on the ‘Apply’ page.

Proposed Itinerary (Italics indicate class titles):

  • Day 1: Meet in Huaraz (~10,000′) Orientation.
  • Day 2: In Huaraz: acclimatize and prep. High-altitude physiology; Glacier Rigs; Expectations; Risk Management in Developing Nations; Hygiene; Sat Phone Use.
  • Day 3: In Huaraz: acclimatize and prep. Climb to Lago Churup, ~14,700′. Permitting Issues; Leave No Trace, Geology and Glaciology of the Andes.
  • Day 4: In Huaraz: acclimatize and prep. Risk Management; Nutrition for Expeditions; Ration Planning; Food Purchasing; Expedition Planning.
  • Day 5: To Ishinca Valley base camp (~14,300′). Porters, Cooks and Arrieros; Base Camping.
  • Day 6: Skills development day, acclimatize. Knots and Hitches Review and Nomenclature; Ice Axe and Crampons; Glacier Rescue Techniques; Advanced Rap Techniques; Anchor Building; Rescue Options in the Blanca.
  • Day 7: Acclimatization trek (~16,200′). Leadership Techniques; Picket and Ice Screw Placement; Snow and Ice Anchors; Glaciology for Mountaineers.
  • Day 8: Acclimatization trek (~16,700′). Ice Climbing Technique; Snow School and Rope Team Travel
  • Day 9: Rest day. Advanced Sling Craft; Route Planning Techniques; Time Plans.
  • Day 10: Climb Urus (~17,900′); Instructors role model route finding, technical transitions, rope team leadership and communication, etc.
expedition-training-mountain-climbing
  • Day 11: Debrief Urus ascent; skills development day. Route Finding; Rope Team Management/Communication; Advanced Alpine Rappel Techniques.
  • Day 12: Climb to Ishinca high camp (~16,100′). Avalanche Assessment.
  • Day 13: Student lead ascent of Ishinca (~18,200′).
  • Day 14: Debrief, rest, skills sessions short rope and short pitch techniques.
  • Day 15: Climb to Tocllaraju high camp (~17,200′) and cache gear.
  • Day 16: Rest, skills sessions, prep for Tocllaraju. Mountain Weather; Advanced Lead Theory.
  • Day 17: Cimb to high camp on Tocllaraju (~17,200′).
  • Day 18: Student lead ascent of Tocllaraju.(~19,900′)
  • Day 19: Rest, reflect, debrief, hike out, dinner with locals in Pashpa.
  • Day 20: Transfer to Huaraz, evaluations and ‘next steps,’ relax at the hot springs?
  • Day 21: Course officially ends at noon, optional bus to Lima or continue exploring Peru!

“I learned more than I thought possible in a three week period, thank you!” -Jeff Rome, Prescott College

 

Costs Include:

  • All in-country transportation during expedition
  • All hotels during the expedition
  • All group climbing gear
  • All meals while in the field
  • Park fees
  • Permit fees
  • Porters
  • Burros/Horses
  • Cooks/Watchmen

Costs Do Not Include:

  • Wire transfer fee or PayPal fees
  • Airfare
  • Hotels before/after the course ($8-40/night)
  • Meals in Lima or Huaraz (plan on $10-20/day)
  • Personal gear (listed on the gear list)
  • Bottled beverages
  • Excess baggage charges and airport fees
  • All expenses incurred in the event of early departure or delayed arrival (evacuation fees, transport, extra hotel nights, etc)
  • Fees associated with college credit or credit transfer

Please note: though we’ve never had to do so, any expedition that is under enrolled will be canceled 6 weeks before the expedition begins. In such a case, a full refund will be available.