South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Artesonraju, Aguja Nevada I and II, Huandoy Norte

Publication Year: 1980.

Artesonraju, Aguja Nevada I and II, Huandoy Norte. The members of our expedition included Dave Marvin, Tom Schwarm, Peter Prandoni, Andy Tuthill, Josh Lieberman and me*. In late June we entered the Quebrada Santa Cruz and set up Base Camp below Alpamayo and Artesonraju. We walked to the base of Taulliraju to reconnoiter a possible new route, but at 15,200 feet I fell victim to acute mountain sickness and had to descend to Base Camp at 13,500 feet, where my symptoms disappeared. Tuthill and Lieberman unsuccessfully tried a new route on the south face of Alpamayo while we other four headed for the northeast face of Artesonraju. After bivouacs at the small lake below the face and at 16,000 feet, below the glacier, we set out up the glacier. Again I started feeling ill, although this time only nausea and headache. The ice became steeper, averaging 60°. Towards the end of the day we climbed several pitches of quite difficult rock and fortunately found two ledges on which to bivouac. Despite a storm in the morning we continued. Another difficult rock pitch brought us to a 60° 1500-foot ice slope. The rest of the day was spent climbing this and digging an ice cave three pitches below the summit. Again I felt nausea. The next day dawned clear. Three easy pitches brought us to the summit. We descended the “normal” route. A traverse of the summit ridge brought us to the first of the rappels. The crevasses and séracs were gigantic and the descent proved almost as trying as the ascent. We bivouacked again on a ledge hacked from the ice slope. I became ill again. By one P.M. the next day we were back in Base Camp. We walked out of the Quebrada Santa Cruz the next day. Tuthill and Lieberman preceded us into the Quebrada Parón and completed a new route on the south face of Aguja Nevada I. Many routes had loose, dangerous rock because of the lack of snow this year. Marvin, Schwarm, Pradoni and an Australian Jonathan ? left for a new route on the south buttress of Aguja Nevada II. Marvin and Schwarm were unsuccessful but Pradoni and Jonathan took an alternative route and got up. Tuthill, Lieberman and I headed for the Ortenburger-Lowe route on the northwest face of Huandoy Norte. I fell ill again but the other two completed the climb. They were followed a few days later by Schwarm, Pradoni and Jonathan. Tuthill and Lieberman also climbed the normal route on Huascarán.

Steven J. Zajchowski

* Recipient of an American Alpine Club Mountaineering Fellowship grant.