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South America, Peru—Cordillera Vilcabamba, Salcantay, Repeats of Yugoslavian Route

Salcantay, Repeats of Yugoslavian Route. Our Basque expedition had hoped to climb the virgin west ridge of Salcantay but approach problems forced us to the other side of the mountain. Our muleteers left us at the foot of the Incacheriasca Pass and we had to carry our gear on to the Palcay Pass. The ferrying of loads added a total of some 85 miles for each member. Instead of taking five days to Base Camp, we spent 15. However above the Pampa Incacheriasca we climbed Cerro Incacheriasca (16,075 feet) by its southwest face and Cerro Gorya (16,586 feet) by its east ridge. Base Camp was at 14,830 feet, below the south face of Salcantay. We followed the route pioneered by the Yugoslavs two weeks before and used their fixed ropes. The route started at the eastern end of the face and ascended to above the seracs halfway up the face. Camp I at 17,325 feet in the séracs was occupied after four days of carries. There José Antonio Fernandez de Aranguiz had to quit because of stomach trouble. The route ran east through and past the séracs. We ascended very steep pitches straight up to join the east ridge. One ice step up onto the ridge was 75°. We bivouacked just above this after 13 hours of difficult climbing. The next morning, July 3, it took us five hours to reach the summit plateau in deep, new snow. I stopped there while José Luis Conde and the brothers Iñigo and Jesús María Barandiarán went to the higher summit. We bivouacked on the plateau hoping to climb both summits, but the weather turned bad and we rapidly descended our ascent route all the way to Base Camp. This route, first climbed by the Yugoslavs on the 11th ascent of the mountain, was repeated on June 17. Our third ascent of the route was on July 3. We were followed on this same route by French and then by Spaniards from Asturias.

Jesús María Rodríguez, Escuela Nacional de Alta Montaña, Spain