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South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Huascarán Norte, Northeast Face

Huascarán Norte, Northeast Face. The northeast face of Huascarán Norte was first climbed by an expedition composed of Maurice Barrard, leader, Marceau Agier, Nicole Chesnais, Dr. Philippe Courtin, Lionel Desrivières, Alain Durin, Dr. Pierre Helardot, Daniel Hughes, Georges Narbaud, Marcel Parde, Michel Pelle and Jean-Jacques Ricouard. The summit was reached on August 18 by Barrard, Desrivières, Narbaud and Ricouard. The next day bad weather broke, preventing the rest of the team from getting to the top. The route had 5500 feet of fixed rope. The northeast face is a huge shroud of snow and ice, defended at the base by a 350-foot rock band and ending in an overhanging rock wall. It is bounded on the left by a magnificent rock triangle which rises to the east ridge and on the right by a rotten couloir dominated by the northeast ridge. This direct route is perfectly protected from objective dangers. From Base Camp at 14,275 feet we climbed moraine to slopes below the glacial tongue, traversed slightly left to a rocky spur, up which we worked a route to Camp I at 17,300 feet. We attacked the ice slope straight up, over a rock band and through broken ice and bergschrunds. From there we continued diagonally right to just under a rock outcrop which was avoided by keeping right towards steep ice flutes. These we climbed on variable snow to below a very steep snow spine (70° to 75°). The ridge being impracticable, we crossed right 200 feet and continued up to isolated rock (60°) and straight up to the top of the snow ridge where it merges with the face. Camp II was carved in the ice there at 19,000 feet. The slope above continued uniform and without weaknesses at an average of 55° to 60°. Halfway up, a short ridge led to the final step. Camp III at 20,575 feet was dug out of the ice below the obvious break in the summit ridge. We attacked the step by a dihedral (UIAA IV, A1), traversed left on a very compact slab (V) to a belay point. We continued up detached flakes (IV+), up a narrow ledge (IV+) which led to a vertical crack (V, Al) and then traversed slightly right to attack a severe overhang (V, A2) which ended on easy rock and led to a snow col (20,975 feet). We followed the east ridge to the summit.

Maurice Barrard, Club Alpin Français