American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Harvard Andean Expedition, Cordillera Blanca

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1965

Harvard Andean Expedition, Cordillera Blanca. In June, Henry S. Francis, Jr. and his wife Sharon, John S. Humphreys and his wife Alice, Stephen Pomerance and I explored new routes in the Quebrada Parón. Laguna Parón was crossed with the aid of a makeshift raft of truck inner tubes and branches; this movement took four days. For acclimatization we explored the north face of Pisco and reached a point about 1000 feet below the summit before turning to our major objective, the south face of Artesonraju. The final stage on Pisco was steep, exposed rock and snow but was doubtless possible. An easier route would lead from the Pisco-Huandoy saddle. We placed two camps on Artesonraju, the second on the south ridge within striking distance of the summit. The ridge was exposed and corniced; a notch just before the spot where the ridge ends in the face delayed us. Time did not permit a retreat to Base Camp for restocking with food, and the attempt had to be abandoned. This feasible route would be an excellent climb, but it needs more hardware and time than we had available. All except Pomerance and I had to return. We two aimed to explore the route to Aguja Nevada, whose main summit is unclimbed*, and to attempt Aguja Nevada Chica, the smallest summit (18,045 feet) on the ridge which runs southwest from it. From a camp at 16,500 feet we climbed a glorious granite ridge and then a few ice steps to a huge cornice which constituted the summit. We originally thought the peak to be unclimbed but the discovery of a piton on the most difficult pitch showed us our mistake. (The Swiss climbed this and the peak between us and the main peak in 1959. A.A.J., 1960, 12:1, pp. 140-2.) The main peak of Aguja Nevada is a worthy challenge. The north side looks worse than that facing the Quebrada Parón, and the ridges are almost certainly unclimbable. The route appears to be straight up the south face.

Richard Goody

*It appears likely that the Swiss climbed the peak just south of the main peak and some 150 feet lower.

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