South America, Peru, Andes

Publication Year: 1955.

Andes, Peru. The Austro – Swiss expedition under the leadership of Fritz Kasparek, who climbed the North Face of the Eiger in 1938 for the first time, came to a tragic end on Salcantay’s southeast face about a thousand feet lower than the summit when the leader and the Swiss Anton Wahenauer were swept by a cornice break down a couloir and plunged 5000 feet to their deaths. The other rope of Waschek and Ambichl managed to save themselves.

The Österreichischen Alpenverein’s expedition to the Cordillera de Huayhuash under Dr. Hans Kinzl climbed two peaks over 20,000 feet and thirteen over 16,000 feet and carried out considerable glaciological work. The climbers under Wastl Mariner’s leadership were Manfred Bachmann, Siegfried Eberle, Waldemar Gruber, Heinrich Klier, and Karl Lugmayer. They established their first base camp above Chiquián on Jahuakocha Lake at the foot of Jurupajá at 13,000 feet on June 24th. On July 27th two climbed the north peak of the Nevado Tsacra chico (18,087 feet) and traversed a badly corniced ridge to the main peak (18,254 feet) while the rest reconnoitered the Nevado Tsacra grande (18,950 feet) but could not find a route safe from avalanches and enormous cornices. Early in July they established four camps on Yerupajá (21,764 feet). In their try for the summit they found an insurmountable ice barrier on the west ridge. An attempt to turn this on the west face failed in powder snow. On July 8th Klier and Lugmayer made the second ascent of the Nevado Rasac (19,714 feet) on a second try. (The first ascent was made by Erwin Schneider in 1936.) A new base of operations was set up on July 11th near Cuyoc at 14,750 feet. From there they climbed Puscanturpa (18,544 feet) on July 1.6th, the Nevado Sarapo (20,160 feet) on July 25th (Bachmann and Lugmayer), Jirishanka chico (17,928 feet) by the east ridge on July 29th, and Ninashanka (18,495 feet) on July 30th.

In the Cordillera de Carabaya, June 6, 1954, Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Francis and P. B. Fisher climbed the Nevado de Japuma (18,186 feet). They were members of a geological expedition.

Peruvian climbers were also active during the past year. On the Nevado Vallunaraju (18,700 feet), May 12, 1954, Elena Morales Arnao established an altitude record for Peruvian women. Hugo Vargas, Antonio Ramos, Manuel Díaz, and René González made a new route by completing the ascent of the same mountain on the north face on June 5th. On June 10th a detachment of the Andean Police made the first ascent of the 150-foot lower east peak, to which they traversed from the main peak. Other important ascents include the following: Nevado Urus (18,028 feet), April 3, 1954, by César and Alberto Morales Arnao, 1st ascent, made from Ishinca Valley above Paltay up south face; Nevado Churup (17,700 feet), August 5, 1954, by Alberto and César Morales Arnao, Aurelio Palacios, Fernando Canaval, Juan and Romelli Thomas, Alfonso Miró, Ricardo Bonnemaisson, Jorge Fernández, Carlos Escudero, and Augusto Márquez, 1st ascent of central peak, made from Acoshcocha by north face; Nevado Ucro (17,060 feet), August 6, 1954, by Alfredo del Arroyo, Arturo Soriano, and Hugo Vargas, 1st ascent, made from Acoshcocha by south face; Nevado Pucaranra (20,158 feet), July 23, 1954, by Victor López, Carlos Sánchez, and Máximo Guimaray, 2nd ascent, made from Lake Tullparaju up the west slope; Pico Rasac Norte (18,370 feet), November 29, 1954, by César Morales Arnao, Eugenio, Victor and Emilio Angeles, 1st ascent, made from Lake Solterahanca along the north ridge.

H. Adams Carter