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South America, Peru, Attempt on Cajavilca, Cordillera Blanca

Attempt on Cajavilca, Cordillera Blanca. During the last two weeks of August, Gary Ziegler and I attempted Cajavilca (18,947 feet). We had traveled overland from Colorado to Lima, largely by hitch-hiking. When we arrived in Lima, we had less than $50 between us. Our air-shipment did not arrive but fortunately with us were down jackets, leg bags, ankle gaiters and a tent. After buying cheap food, we took a bus to Carhuaz and hired a mule and muleteer. We bivouacked 15 miles up the Quebrada Ulta. That same night, a front of bad weather moved into the range. On the mountain it rained or snowed every day and usually visibility was no more than a few feet. Several days after arriving at the base of the long north ridge, we placed our first camp on snow. Despite terrible weather, we made steady progress up ridges and slopes of unstable snow, which constantly settled beneath us. Finally, the slope avalanched from beneath Gary as he was following my tracks, but it did not carry him away. An ice cliff was the only purely technical problem, solved fifth-class by ice blocks and a fin of ice. Visibility was zero the next day until four P.M. As it cleared, we hurried across crevasses and up ice ribs, but it soon closed in again. We felt close to the small summit plateau and needed only one other day of intermittent visibility to succeed, but the next day the weather was hopelessly bad. Almost out of food, we had to descend.

Stanley Shields Shepard, Colorado Mountain Club