South America, Peru, Vallunaraju Group, Cordillera Blanca

Publication Year: 1964.

Vallunaraju Group, Cordillera Blanca. On July 28 seven Americans left Huaraz and climbed up the Quebrada Mullaca to establish Base Camp at Lake Mullaca. That same afternoon they began the reconnaissance of the lower icefall. On the next morning Sam Colbeck, Dr. Duane Ewers, Kent Heathershaw and Ivan Jirak climbed through the lower icefall, found a way finally through the upper one and made Camp I at 16,300 feet. The three others remained at Base in support. On June 30 they moved camp to a point halfway up the couloir of San Martín, where at 17,000 feet they established Camp II. The following day they made the first ascent of San Martín (5630 m. or 18,471 feet). On August 1 they set out for the peak west of them, but Heathershaw was feeling the altitude so much that he returned to camp. The other three climbed Peak 5675 (18,618 feet). The last 120 feet above a bergschrund were very steep. On returning to camp Jirak started down with Heathershaw, who had previously had high altitude pulmonary edema, but they reached only a point a mile away and 200 feet lower when darkness forced them to bivouac. Starting off again at dawn, they made slow progress, although joined by Ewers and Colbeck by mid-morning. At nightfall they were still at 16,500 feet where they bivouacked again. During the course of that day Jirak descended to Base Camp to find that the support party had pulled out and left for Huaraz ! He hurried after them and arrived in the evening. Four Peruvians rapidly ascended and carried Heathershaw down on August 4. He subsequently recovered from what appears to have been another pulmonary edema but lost frost bitten toes. Other recently arrived members of the expedition moved up to Base Camp on August 4 and to Camp I on August 6. On August 7 Larry Wolfe, Ed Roberson and Hugh Bloom made the second ascent of Bolivar (5450 m. or 17,881 feet) (First ascent by Dzuranin, Jirak and Muck on July 18, 1958; see A.A.J., 1959, 11:2, p. 323, where the peak was erroneously called “Jangyaraju’’) although Bloom was seriously affected by the altitude after his rapid ascent to high altitudes in only a few days. At the same time Colbeck and Jirak climbed the three-peaked mountain between Bolívar and San Martín (c. 17,200 feet). The expedition descended to Huaraz on August 9. (This group named several peaks for wives and sweethearts, apparently the first instance where Americans have done so in the Andes. Peruvian officials have informed us, "We cannot accept these names, even provisionally.” They went on to explain that local names may exist and these should be sought. If none are found, names will be considered preferably in the language of the country (usually Ouechua) which have a local significance and a meaning to all. We have not repeated these names here, since they will never be officially accepted and would only add confusion as has happened in the past. How much more tasteful to give names such as Chugllaraju ("Snow-covered Indian Hut”), Yanapaccha ("Black Cascade”), or Jirishhanca ("Hummingbird’s Beak of Ice”)! We again make the plea that climbers avoid personal names, foreign place names and names not in the language of the country. — Editor.)

Southern Cordillera Blanca. The South Africans Andrew Gruft and his wife Helen with the Peruvian porter Eustaquio Henostroza made the second ascents of Rajuntuna (17,586 feet) and Paulista (17,550 feet) on October 2.

César Morales Arnao, Club Andino Peruano