American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Huascarán, Southeast Ridge and Peaks in Quebrada Ulta

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1978

Huascarán, Southeast Ridge and Peaks in Quebrada Ulta. In June Theo Dowbenka, Austrian, Heinrich Händel, Sebastian Hohenreiter, Peter Schiml and I as leader, Germans, climbed in the Cordillera Blanca. Our Base Camp lay at 13,125 feet in the Jatun Monte area of the Quebrada Ulta. To acclimatize we made the following climbs in the upper part of the quebrada: P 5325 (17,470 feet), P. 5166 (16,949 feet) and P 5200 (17,061 feet; a mile southwest of Ulta). We found the snow very soft, the glaciers dangerous and the temperatures high; even at night the winds were warm. After this, minus Händel, we headed to our main objective: the second ascent of the southeast ridge of Huascarán. On June 23 we ascended the Quebrada Mátara. Below the southeast ridge we found a good bivouac at 16,575 feet. The next day we climbed to the southeast ridge. For half a day we were first on the northern and then on the southern side of the lower ridge. After traversing dangerous crevasses, we reached the real southeast ridge, which was first snow and then rock and ice. The weather deteriorated and it became windy. At 19,000 feet we found overhanging, icy rock. Falling snow hid the main east glacier. We prepared two small spots for a bivouac: two in a snow cave and two on a narrow rock band, a vertical seat 35 feet lower. It was a sleepless windy night in the bivouac sack. At nine A.M. on June 25, the sun cut through the clouds. We headed up to the overhang, which we turned on the south side of the ridge. At six P.M. we were still wallowing in soft, dangerous snow. We did the last 250 feet to P 6080 (19,848 feet) partially on our bellies. Just beyond and 100 feet lower, we bivouacked in a snow-covered crevasse where the wind drifted over our tent. On the third day we climbed an ice face. At three P.M. we were on the secondary summit, P 6410 (21,031 feet), where we put our tent. We enjoyed the wonderful panorama without a breath of wind and slept well. On the fourth day we climbed a very narrow, steep, double-corniced snow ridge. The snow was soft and treacherous. Finally we got to the broad plain of Huascarán’s south summit. Below it in a col we bivouacked at 22,000 feet. The wind in the night was strong. The next morning the Andean sun threw a gigantic shadow onto the Cordillera Negra, well below us. At 9:30 we were on the top of Huascarán. It took an hour for all the proper summit rites. On hard crust we descended to the Garganta. We found the crevasses in the big glacier on the west side very dangerous this year.

Herbert Ziegenhardt, Deutscher Alpenverein

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