American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Huascarán, Southwest Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1974

Huascarán, Southwest Ridge. Our party included Thomas Bowen, Stu During, Richard Hildner, Richard “Munch” Cussler and me. Our route was the southwest ridge of Huascarán to the summit of the south spur at 21,031 feet. We all reached this summit on July 25. Leaving from the town of Shilla, we placed Base Camp at 14,280 feet at the foot of the glacier south of the southwest ridge, Camp I at 17,340 feet on a snow chute between the ridge and the glacier, Camp II at 19,280 feet on the ridge at the top of the headwalls above the glacier and Camp III just below the summit of the south spur. Snow conditions were generally poor with knee-deep snow presenting avalanche danger above Camp II. The most interesting part was the exposed, knife-edged ridge between 17,000 and 19,000 feet. Although we intended to climb the main summit, only two of us could climb effectively above Camp III. Two of us traversed around the south spur at 20,800 feet and descended across the bergschrund that extends around the spur on the north side. We feared that thigh-deep snow might conceal crevasses and felt it too risky for two to proceed further. Our route differed from that described in A.A.J, 1969, 16:2, p. 425 in that they avoided the southwest ridge and traveled across the glacier south of the ridge to the headwall and crossed the ridge into a bowl west of the spur summit.

Dan W. Bench, Unaffiliated

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