American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Swiss Expedition to the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the Cordillera Blanca

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year: N/A
  • Publication Year: 1960

Swiss Expedition to the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the Cordillera Blanca. The Swiss left Mollepata on May 20 to climb in the Cordillera Vilcabamba in two different groups, Ernest Reiss, Seth Abderhalden, Franz Anderrüthi, Dr. Hans Thoenen and Erich Haltiner reached Base Camp in the Pumasillo group on May 25. They made the first ascents of the following peaks: Kaico (17,275 feet), Pucapuca (17,880 feet), Paccha (17,060 feet), Choquetacarpo (18,110 feet), Eugenio (16,735 feet), Redondo (17,225 feet), and Cabeza Blanca (19,520 feet). The Peruvian porter, Eugenio Angeles joined the Swiss on Kaico and Eugenio. Taking only a day and a half for the climb, on June 7 Reiss and Haltiner made the second ascent of Puma- sillo (19,915 feet). The next day Abderhalden and Anderrüthi repeated this climb. (All altitudes are those given by the Swiss. It will be noted that Pumasillo’s height is less than has previously been given, but this is more in accord with the thoughts of members of the 1956 American expedition, which first explored this region.—Editor.) Meanwhile the other members of the party had in a ten day march crossed five 15,000-foot passes to penetrate into the Panta group and to operate there. The most difficult climb they made there was Camballa (18,765 feet), whose summit they likened to the blade of a knife. This mountain was climbed on June 7 by Jean-Jacques Asper, Marcel Bron, and Roger Habersaat and two days later by Hans Frommenwiler, Eugen Steiger, and the leader of the whole expedition, Ruedi Schatz. They climbed the north face of Panta (19,160 feet), the highest in the group, as well as Chaullauccassa (16,735 feet), Soiro- cocha (18,175 feet), Kuima (18,210 feet), Artision (17,880 feet), and Runasayoc (17,715 feet). The other members of the 14-man group, Dr. P. Fischer, geologist, Ernst Spiess, topographer, and Prof. Charles Terrier, botanist, also carried out studies in this region. Both groups found the climbing of the most severe difficulty. The snow and ice slopes up to 70° were covered with rotten, porous ice, and on the shaded slopes the powder snow was deep and unconsolidated. Enormous cornices added to there difficulties. They reported that the Cordillera Vilcabamba’s peaks might be lower than those in the Cordillera Blanca but equalled them in size from valley to summit and in difficulty.

The whole expedition moved its activities to the Cordillera Blanca at the end of the first week of July and climbed there in two different groups for ten days. One group made its base at the Luguna Parón. From there, on July 10, Reiss and Schatz climbed Huandoy (20,981 feet) by the north face, a new and difficult route. Anderrüthi and Steiger repeated this ascent the next day. Anderrüthi, Reiss and Steiger made the first ascent of incredibly steep and difficult Aguja Nevada (19,312 feet) on July 15. Frommenwiler and Haltiner climbed Aguja Nevada Chica (18,045 feet) the next day. The other group attempted Cayesh (18,770 feet), farther south, (see photograph A.A.J., 1959, 11:2, opp. p. 175.) They had about 1000 feet of nearly continuous class 6 climbing. Abderhalden, Bron and Habersaat reached the highest point in an attempt which involved a difficult bivouac. They think the mountain is possible with two weeks of steady work. This group also climbed Chopiraju (17,900 feet) while reconnoitering Cayesh, making a new route.

Brazilian Expedition to the Cordillera Blanca. Domingo Giobbi, founding president of the Club Alpino Paulino with Eugenio Angeles, the Peruvian porter, climbed Paulista (18,045 feet) in the Caullaraju-Tucu group on September 26.

César Morales Arnao, Club Andinista Cordillera Blanca

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