American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru–Cordillera Blanca, Vallunaraju, First Ascent of North Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1972

Vallunaraju, First Ascent of North Ridge. Beryl Howarth, Vicki Thompson, my wife Lucille and I set out on July 5 from camp in the Llaca valley and climbed along the base of the cliffs as they curved upwards, then broke out onto open moraine and eventually ascended the snout of the glacier and then easier snow slopes, where for the first time we had a view of our objective. To our surprise the north ridge of the peak was completely cut off from our glacier by a rock wall. We had expected easy access to the col between Vallunaraju and Ocshapalca and were attempting to gain 4500 feet in one day. We headed for the lowest point in the rock wall and found a way through the lower sections. We were soon amongst steep mixed climbing and finally had a short ice step before plugging up snow slopes to the col. Though there were few difficulties between us and the summit, Lucille and I were twice forced onto the steep eastern slopes by double-edged cornices before reaching the top (18,655 feet) at 1:30. Beryl who had no crampons, and Vicki had stopped where we traversed onto the eastern slopes for the second time.

ROBERT RYAN, Unaffiliated

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