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South America, Peru—Cordillera Huayhuash, Jirishhanca

Jirishhanca. The members of our expedition were Felix Kuen, Werner Haim, Adi Sager and myself as leader, all climbing guides in the Austrian Army. We arrived by sea at Lima on May 7 and on the 18th drove by private bus to Chiquián. With 23 donkeys and about 2400 pounds of gear, we arrived on May 23 at Base Camp at 13,700 feet on Carhuacocha (lake) on the eastern side of the Cordillera Huayhuash. Our chief objective was the second ascent of Jirishhanca (20,099 feet) by the east buttress. (The first ascent was made by Toni Egger and Siegfried Jungmeier on July 26, 1957.) We used no high-altitude porters. Camp I was at 15,750 feet and Camp II at 17,750 feet on the Northern Jirishhanca Glacier. On June 17 the weather improved and on the 18th we four set out from Camp II. On the first day we reached the upper edge of the third ice roof, where we bivouacked. On the second day we ascended only 650 feet, because of Grade V and VI climbing on rotten, tropical ice. We bivouacked on the top of the second pillar at 19,200 feet. On the third day we attacked the dangerous summit ridge and at three p.m. of June 20 we four stood on the far-overhanging summit cornice of Nevado Jirishhanca. We bivouacked in a snow cave on the summit. On the fourth day we descended to under the first ice roof, not being able to climb free one single meter of the descent. On the fifth day we got back to Camp II, safe and sound but exhausted. This peak is one of the most beautiful and most difficult mountains in the world. We used the same equipment which had proved itself on difficult climbs in the Alps such as the Eiger North Face and the North Face of the Matterhorn in winter. We also all climbed Jirishhanca Chico (17,937 feet), Kuen and Sager making the fifth ascent in late June and Haim and I the seventh on July 7. (The sixth was made by the Siulá expedition.)

Leo Schlömmer, Austrian Army Climbing Guide