South America, Peru—Cordillera Blanca, Huantsán, East Ridge

Publication Year: 1975.

Huantsán, East Ridge. August 8 saw the meeting of two separate expeditions at the foot of Huantsán. One group comprised 13 French, nine men and four women, and the other, three French, two Americans, an Australian and a Peruvian porter. Thus with a manpower of 20, the east ridge was subjected to a Himalayan-style assault. Using 7000 feet of fixed rope and four camps, the two principal lead climbers, Frenchmen Michel Parmentier and Marc Bartard, reached the summit at one P.M. on August 17 from Camp IV at 20,150 feet. On the next three days another 11 climbers reached the top, including Dave Neff, Gordon Seibel, Americans and me, Australian. Overall the ridge was long and steep and the climbing sustained. We stayed mostly on the north slope of the ridge, except around Camp III (18,500 feet), where the route followed beneath the cornices, and the last few pitches near the top. Rope was fixed almost continuously from Camp II (17,000 feet) almost to the summit. The crux of the climb was some 600 feet below the summit, where the Americans had stopped a month or so before us. During the early stages of the climb there were heavy snowfalls, but this gave way to more stable weather. However, much climbing was done in white-out conditions. At the end all ropes and hardware were removed and the mountain left relatively clean.

Murray Johns, Club Andinista, Cordillera Blanca