American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru—Cordillera Huayhuash, Attempt on Yerupajá

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1967

Attempt on Yerupajá. The unsuccessful attempt of the Scottish Expedition of 1964 to Yerupajá (A.A.J., 1965, 12:2 p. 447) left two of its members anxious to prove a route that seemed feasible. The 1966 party consisted of Dez Hadlum, Ian Howell and Mike Kosterlitz and of Rob Brookes and me of the 1964 group. We took 5000 feet of fixed rope and in every respect were well equipped. Base Camp was established on Carhuacocha on July 1 and Camp I at 16,000 feet two days later. A very dry season had created new difficulties on the glacier that falls from the east face, and it was not until the 7th that Brookes and I were reclimbing the overhanging start to the east spur of P 5660 ( 18,570 feet; Yerupajá Oeste). The route was forced without great difficulty to the final ridge about 200 feet below this summit, and thereafter a great length of double cornice led to the col at the foot of the east buttress of the main peak. As a good route of supply, it was out. By good luck the same glacier which had yielded no route in 1964 now led us to the east wall of the northeast ridge, and in the three days from the 12th to the 14th Kosterlitz and Howell fixed rope on this steep wall. Camp II was established at 17,000 feet. Brookes and Hedlum climbed on and fixed rope to a minute ledge at about 19,000 feet. By the end of July I had to leave. Some time had been lost by two spells of bad weather. From Camp III Howell and Kosterlitz made a route through the towers and ice overhangs that defended the access to the final east summit ridge of the mountain until they were driven down by bad weather just as they ran out of fixed rope. On August 6 all four climbers occupied Camp III, and with heavy loads they set out for the summit bid, expecting to bivouac. They spent the night under difficult circumstances. The next day they faced a route of exceptionally steep, rotting snow. After reaching 20,250 feet, they turned back, gaining Camp III in the dark. Bad weather set in and the party regained Base Camp under difficult conditions. The attempt was abandoned as there was no further time

C. G. Malcolm Slesser, Alpine Club

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