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South America, Peru, Central Peru, P5280, Cordillera Raura

P5280, Cordillera Raura. The mountain we climbed is 17,323 feet by triangulation, but my altimeter read only 17,015 feet. Arturo Soriano and I made the climb on Saturday, September 20, 1969 as part of a weekend that was cut short by bad weather coming down from the Cordillera Blanca at the end of the season. We left Lima early on Friday morning and motored through Churin and along the dirt road that would have led between Condorsenca and Yanco if we had followed it to its end. Before Patacocha we turned left (northwest) for a mile or two until we came to the dam of Surasaca Lake (14,000 feet). There we met Sr. Menéndez with burros and two horses. On these we crossed the dam and went up the western side of a long valley which is divided about halfway up by a huge rock bastion. We took the left fork and rose to about 15,000 feet, where we camped by a rocky tarn. This tarn was near the top of the pass which divided our mountain from the rest of the chain of rocky cliffs that make up the western side of the valley. To the east we could look across to the eastern side and the snow-covered mountains that stretch from P 5427 (R-4) to Yarupa in the south. The camp was directly below our mountain, which lies west of R-4 and is separated from it by a lesser rock peak. The climb was really quite easy but exhausting after having been at sea level the morning before. It took 4½ hours from camp although we had to climb only about 2500 feet. After climbing scree and narrow gullies, we came out on a shoulder with little ponds. The snow starts at 16,100 feet and we went up just to the right of a glacier. After a few hundred feet we reached the rock of the southeast crest, where we struggled up a couple of 100-foot-high chimneys, neither really difficult. Level with the top of the glacier, we tracked diagonally up the steep summit snowfield to a corniced snow ridge at 17,000 feet. The summit is a steep 120-foot rock tower at the western edge of the ridge. This also is a steep and energetic scramble with awkward chockstones jamming a chimney, which would have caused no trouble at sea level but made us unacclimatized climbers breathless. A fine gendarme, leaning out over a gigantic precipice to the west, formed the summit. The view of the Cordillera Huayhuash was amazing. Nearest was Puscanturpa and to the left Viconga Lake. The beautiful massif of Carnicero, Sarapo and Siuláhid Yerupajá.

I. Drummond Rennie, M.D.