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South America, Peru–Cordillera Blanca, Ranrapalca, Southwest Ridge

Ranrapalca, Southwest Ridge. After having faced the Customs bureaucrats of Callao, we split into two groups. Five of us packed the equipment we brought in the plane and went beyond Huaraz to reconnoiter. The last two of us hired a customs-broker, but even with him in daily action, it took us two weeks and a lot of soles to get our things. Finally on June 16 we had seven men and 1500 pounds of baggage at Base Camp at 14,400 feet. We were Trond Aas, Birger Hammeraas, Erik Boehlke, Knut Bjerge, Ulf Geir-Hansen, Per Gren and I. We had no leader. Burros carried things to Base Camp from Huaraz. It took a week to set up Advanced Base Camp (17,400 feet) at the lowest point of the southwest ridge. Two days of reconnaissance convinced us that it was impossible to follow the ridge dead on and so we traversed into the southwest wall, hampered by heavy new snow. During the first week four climbed, one man stayed in Advanced Base and two more rested at Base Camp. The route climbed straight up a steep rib in the face back to the ridge. As it grew longer, we had to make another camp, the Condor Nest, at 19,200 feet near the top of the rib. It was in two snow holes beautifully placed with a drop of 8000 feet into the Palcacocha valley. From the Condor Nest, the route went straight up to the ridge and followed this to the southwest summit (19,751 feet), which we reached on July 7. The ridge to the main summit was a kilometer long and looked not good at all. We had fixed ropes from Advanced Base to the Condor Nest and for four rope-lengths above.

HARALD EKIKSEN, Norsk Tindeklubb