American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Other Ranges, Cordillera do Huallanca

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

Cordillera de Huallanca. Our expedition was organized by the Club Alpino Paulista with the collaboration of the Faculty of Geology of São Paulo, Brazil. It was composed of the Brazilians Luiz Guilherme Assumpção, Jair Laguna, Jorge Piotowski, Italians Silvio Segre and geologist Andrea Bartorelli, and myself as leader. The Peruvian climbers Macario and Emilio Angeles and porters Simeón Natividad and Victorino Angeles also participated. This "new" 20-mile-long range divides the Departments of Huánuco on the east and Ancash on the west between 9° 50' and 10° 05' south latitude. It runs from south-southeast to north- northwest, north of the Huayhuash. From previous observations to the east from the southern Cordillera Blanca, I felt that the highest peaks would be in the northern end of the range.

After a few days in Huaraz to buy supplies and acclimatize, we left by truck for Chiquián and Aquia and from there took the new road up the Río Pativilca to arrive on June 15 at the mining village of Pacha-Paqui (12,800 feet). After a rapid reconnaissance, we packed up the Quebrada de Gara; at its head we entered north into the Quebrada de Minapata, where at 13,800 feet on June 17 we established Base Camp on the moraine south of the snow peaks that interested us. With Piotrowski and Macario Angeles, I decided to place a camp in the glacial cirque and reconnoiter the group. On the rocks to the west of the icefall we placed 500 feet of fixed rope to reach the upper part of the glacier. We pitched camp on the 19th at 16,000 feet. The peaks form a horseshoe with the highest summit on the east. We three set off on June 20 for this peak, Nevado Huallanca. After crossing crevasses and the bergschrund, we headed for the south ridge, which was knife-edged and had unconsolidated snow. Therefore we returned to the schrund, traversed and climbed up the very steep west face to a point just below a huge cornice below the summit. Already nearly dark, we retreated, leaving fixed ropes. At dawn on the 22nd Piotowski, Macario Angeles and I set out again and, after some airy passages, turned the cornice on the north on hard ice to reach the east face and from there the summit. As we had suspected, this was clearly the highest mountain of the range, 5470 meters or 17,946 feet on my Thommen altimeter, which was confirmed by Dr. Bartorelli’s triangulation from Base Camp. It was also the most beautiful. We rappelled rapidly from the ice screws and pickets we had placed on the ascent. That same afternoon, following the ridge from this peak south, we climbed the summit of 5400 meters or 17,717 feet, called by the natives Cumbre de los Burros ("Donkey Summit") because it lies just north of the Punta (col) de los Burros, an ancient pass linking Ancash and Huánuco. On June 23 two separate ropes climbed Nevado Tunacancha (17,454 feet), the peak west of our glacier and clearly visible from the Quebrada Tunacancha. Segre and Assumpção climbed it from the east after having repeated our climb of the Cumbre de los Burros, while Piotrowski, Macario Angeles and I traversed the whole south ridge, ascending over Minapata (17,257 feet). Laguna and Assumpção climbed the latter on June 24. Dr. Bartorelli made a geological reconnaissance from the northern end of the range, Nevado Tancan (16,972 feet) to the Quebrada Shicra-Shicra, where he joined his study to that of the American geologist, Dr. Peter Coney. Dr. Bartorelli and I have made an orographic map from USAF aerial photographs and our own ground grid. Unclimbed peaks of 17,000 to 17,500 feet remain, similar to those in the Cordillera Blanca. The region is easy of access from a new road from Lima to the departmental capital Huánuco. In this region, in the Quebrada de Gara, is found the very rare gigantic plant, the Puya Raimondi.

Domingos Giobbi, Club Alpino Paulista, Brazil

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