Alpamayo

The time has come for another adventure. This year, I've picked a mountain that has been on my bucket list for a long time. The goals for this year is Alpamayo. Alpamayo is 5947 meters high, is located in the Cordillera Blanca in Peru and is mainly known because it is an almost perfect pyramid of ice. In 1966, Alpamayo won a price for “Most beautiful mountain in the world” on a photography contest in Munich.

Alpamayo is a more technical climb. The last couple of hundred meters to the summit are an ice climb of about 75 degrees. That is quite a bit steeper than for example the Lhotse Face on Everest and can be compared with some of the steepest sections on K2.

I've obviously done quite a bit of ice climbing in the past, but never at this altitude. So it looked like a nice challenge. And the make the challenge even nicer, I've team up with Douglas Beall. Douglas is a surgeon from Oklahoma city with whom I've spent quite a bit of time in a tent in the last 20 years (Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Denali, Vinson, Cho Oyu, Everest, Elbrus and the North Pole).

To allow my body to acclimatize, I will do a few hikes and climb Yannapaccha (5460 meter) before Alpamayo. The schedule for this trip looks approximately as follows:

  • 19 August: Departure to Lima

  • 20 August: bus from Lima to Huaraz

  • 21 August: acclimatization hike 1

  • 22 August: acclimatization hike 2

  • 23/25 August: climb Yannapaccha

  • 26 August: rest day

  • 27 August/2 September: climb Alpamayo

  • 3 September: bus from Huaraz to Lima

  • 4/10 September: hike to Machu Picchu

  • 11/12 September: return to Belgium

Obviously, I've been training hard to get in top shape for this challenge with a combination of endurance, interval, power and circuit training.

This year I've added scientific research to my training schedule. Since April, I'm being tracked by Sportana. They are doing research into training by endurance sports. I register my trainings and my mental/physical condition on a weekly basis. They have also taken some blood twice and will take some more, once before the trip and once after.

And this is not the only piece of science for this challenge. Building on my experience with wearables that I've used on Makalu in 2015, I started working with IMEC. But more about that in a future blog.