Ausangate, Second Ascent of Northwest Ridge. On July 6 we placed Base Camp at the foot of Ausangate’s north face near Ausangate Chico to make the second ascent of the northwest ridge to the main peak of Ausangate. (First ascent by Germans in 1966; see A.A.J., 1967, 15;2 pp. 395-7.) On the 8th we established Camp I for four people on a snowy shoulder at 17,725 feet at the foot of the ridge. After some bad weather we fixed rope and relayed equipment up twelve pitches of rock (UIAA IV+ and V). On July 17 Jean Lerondier, Jean Pierre Fiésafond, Jean Bernard and I left Base for the summit. After the prepared section, the climb continued along an ice and snow ridge with enormous cornices and 75° slopes. It was impossible to relay loads on the upper part where we moved à cheval, belayed by pickets and ice axes. Nevertheless the route is objectively not dangerous since it keeps on the crest. We reached the summit (20,788 feet) on July 21 at two P.M., spending the last three nights in bivouacs on the spur; the night of the 20th was in a very uncomfortable schrund. We spent two more days on the descent of the south face because of route-finding difficulties in a maze of séracs and crevasses hidden by powder snow. On July 20 Roger Dietz and Jacques Soubis reached the summit of the Pico de Arroz by the normal south-face route. They were awaiting our arrival to help us down.
Benoit Mathieu, Club Alpin Frangais