American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Climbs above the Quebrada Ultra, Cordillera Blanca

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1961

Climbs above the Quebrada Ulta, Cordillera Blanca. On June 28 the Californians, Henry W. Kendall, Carl Heller, Ernst Bauer, John Lomart and Dave Brown, were joined in Carhuás by their Peruvian porters, Macario Angeles, Octaviano Zuñiger and Pablo Morales, and moved up the Quebrada Ulta to establish Base Camp. By July 2 they were camped at 14,000 feet near the lake below Chekiacraju. The whole party made the second ascent of this 17,342-foot peak the next day. (First ascent by Ayres, Ortenburger, Whitmore, Macario Angeles in 1958. See A.A.J., 1959, 11:2, p. 180.) From this camp they reconnoitered an unclimbed, unnamed peak and found the route to the summit ridge. On the very day they were to set up Camp II, Bauer came down with congestive heart failure and had to be evacuated. After a short delay, the camp was established, but Heller came down with apparently the same ailment and the attempt was abandoned. The climbers then turned to Chopicalqui (20,998 feet) in hopes of reaching the west ridge from the Quebrada Ulta and of joining there the route followed by the two successful parties, who had ascended from the Quebrada Llanganuco (also, but less correctly, spelled Yanganuco). Deep powder snow and steep slopes complicated the ascent, but Kendall, Heller and Bauer finally established themselves in camp near the west ridge. Steep slopes and bottomless powder snow defeated the first attempt to climb higher well below the summit. Two days later in poor weather they reached the summit cone. The slope climbed by the American party in 1954 had avalanched off, leaving an overhanging ice wall. They then tried to ascend a vertical ice wall down the ridge on the south side, but because the ice was so rotten that ice pitons would not hold, they had to turn back from there, only 100 yards from the top. During the last three days in the region, they reconnoitered a route on the Nevado Ulta. Though they crossed the ridge between the Nevado Ulta and Contrahierbas and descended into the Quebrada Cancaracá Chico, they found the traverse to the base of the Nevado Ulta cut off by a series of icefalls and a cliff which they did not have time to try.

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