American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordlilera Blanca, Copa and Attempt on Huascarán

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1969

Copa and attempt on Huascarán, Cordillera Blanca. From Base Camp at the lake below the southwest face of Copa (20,351 feet), Art Mears, Jerry Halpern, Robin Wilson, my wife Barbara and I moved up to our high camp at 17,000 feet on June 19. We all went to the summit on the 21st, after climbing several technical pitches. We established Base Camp in a beautiful meadow below the southwest glacier of Huascarán on June 29. This approach to the south side of the peak is far better than from the Quebrada Ulta since we were able to get burros to 14,400 feet; this approach also avoids the steep climb out of the quebrada. We followed the southwest glacier, staying just south of the small, rocky southwest ridge. Camp I was at 17,000 feet. We ascended a headwall between 18,000 and 19,000 feet to the crest of the southwest ridge, placing Camp II at 19,000 feet on July 7. We climbed the ridge to place Camp III beyond the 21,000-foot spur summit. After a day of severe storm, on July 9 we left to try for the summit, electing to traverse below the south ridge. This was our undoing since we soon ran into technical ice pitches which used up valuable time. Realizing we could not make the summit without a bivouac or night descent, we reluctantly turned back.

Gerry Roach, University of Colorado Hiking Club

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