American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Other Ranges, Yerupajá, Traverse, Cordillera Huayhuash

  • Climbs And Expeditions
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  • Publication Year: 1969

Yerupajá, Traverse, Cordillera Huayhuash. Roger Bates, Peter Barry, Robin Brooks and his wife Judith, Graeme Dingle, Lloyd Gallagher, Allan Sheppard and I left Lima on May 13 by chartered bus for Chiquián. With pack animals we set out on the morning of the 15th, stopping overnight at Llamac and arriving at Base Camp near Lake Jahuacocha late on May 16. A ten-day acclimatization period had been allowed for, and during this time we prepared food and equipment for the higher camps. On May 24 two climbers made a reconnaissance of the Yerupajá Glacier and found a suitable site for Camp I at 17,200 feet, due west of TAM Sur. This camp was established on May 30 and occupied by a reconnaissance team of two, who examined the approaches to the northeast and northwest spurs of the north ridge. The northeast spur terminated on a steep-sided col, with a very difficult approach from the snow basin beneath the north face. Though climbable, the route to the col appeared neither practical nor safe for packing. There was, on the other hand, a good site for Camp II at the foot of the northwest spur at 18,500 feet. On June 3 a snow cave was started at Camp I, and by the time of occupation on the 5th, it was of some 25 cubic yards and comfortably accommodated the whole expedition. A total of 132 man-days were spent occupying the cave, and it proved most satisfactory and comfortable. We chose the northwest spur and occupied Camp II on June 11. Work preparing the route lasted for about a week and we fixed rope to a height of 20,300 feet. At the end of the fixed rope, one of the team accidentally fell through a thin crust of snow into a spectacular cave-like crevasse, which on closer examination revealed itself as an excellent site for Camp III. While Bates and Dingle were between Camps II and III on June 20, an avalanche swept over 700 feet of the route, removing fixed ropes and pitons. They continued on to Camp III, reporting by radio from above the danger zone. It was obvious that the northwest spur would have to be abandoned as an ascent route, but as the two climbers were now at Camp III, they prepared for an attempt on the summit the following day and when they reached the virgin north summit (21,500 feet) at 12:30 p.m., they decided to bivouac. After a cold and windy night they descended to Camp III and later to Camp II, where the whole expedition was now assembled. A short while after their arrival a

further avalanche swept the route. We now concentrated on ascending by the southwest ridge and south summit. (This was the route of three of the four previous expeditions which reached the main summit. The west face was also climbed by Patterson and Peterek.—Editor.) To facilitate this, Camp II was resited on the upper Yerupajá Glacier below the west face at 18,000 feet (Camp IIa). Camp IIIa was established on June 22 just above Rasac Col at 18,800 feet, and the south summit was reached on June 27. Camp IV was placed at 21,300 feet just below this summit, enabling Bates and Gallagher to reach the summit of Yerupajá Grande (21,765 feet) on June 30. Again on July 2 Barry, Sheppard, Robin and Judy Brooks reached this main summit, and the following day Dingle and I reached the top by eleven a.m. and decided to traverse the virgin north ridge, arriving at the north summit at 1:30. We descended the northwest spur, getting to Camp IIa at 7:55, exactly 12 hours after setting out from Camp IV. This traverse was repeated by Bates and Gallagher on July 4, at the same time that Barry and R. Brooks again ascended the south summit to retrieve Camp IV. Camp I was again inhabited for two days when on July 12 Gallagher, Sheppard, Bates and Dingle reached the summit of Espolón TAM Sur (18,192 feet). Espolón TAM Norte was attempted by both north and south ridges, but bad rock on the north and fragile cornices on the south defeated the climbers. During a period of three weeks the following minor climbs were made: Huacrish Norte (5167 meters or 16,952 feet) on July 8 by Bates, Dingle, Sheppard and on July 10 by Gallagher; Jahua Este (5036 meters or 16,522 feet) and Jahua Sur* (4927 meters or 16,165 feet) by Adcock on May 20 and Barry on May 21; Leonhuacanán (4820 meters or 15,814 feet) by Barry on July 22 and Adcock and Gallagher on July 23; Llamac* (5137 meters or 16,854 feet; north of Pampa Incahuaín in Quebrada Pacllón) by Bates and Dingle on July 24; Llauche* (5199 meters or 17,058 feet) by Bates, Gallagher, Barry, R. and J. Brooks on July 17; México (5063 meters or 16,611 feet) by Adcock on May 24, Gallagher on May 30 and Barry, R. and J. Brooks on June 3; Patarcocha (5067 meters or 16,624 feet) by Barry on May 24 and Adcock on June 29; Rasac Norte (5247 meters or 17,215 feet) by J. Brooks on May 24; Siulacocha Este (4917 meters or 16,132 feet) and Siulacocha Central (4925 meters or 16,158 feet) by Barry on July 22; Incahuaín Norte (5256 meters or 17,244 feet) by Bates and Dingle on July 16.

David Michael Adcock, New Zealand Alpine Club

*First ascent.

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