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South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Kitaraju Alpamayo and Loyaqjirka

Kitaraju Alpamayo and Loyaqjirka. Making our approach via the Quebrada Santa Cruz, a leisurely two-day walk from Cashapampa brought us to Base Camp on June 28 at 14,500 feet. Camp I was established at 16,250 feet at the edge of the glacier on the southeast flank of Alpamayo, and Camp II on the 18,000-foot col between Alpamayo and Kitaraju. On July 6 in stormy weather Dana Coffield and I climbed the southeast ridge of Loyaqjirka, which provided some delightful climbing on ice ranging from 40° to 50° and a spectacular mushroom-shaped summit as a finale. On July 9 Mike Browning, Coffield and I attempted a new route on the far left side of the southwest face of Alpamayo, which leads to the west ridge of the peak 300 feet below the north summit. The face portion of the climb above the bergschrund which splits the southwest face provided four full leads of excellent ice climbing ranging from 50° to 65°. The two steepest pitches were predominantly water-ice. Upon gaining the west ridge we encountered moderately steep unconsolidated snow with an occasional steep bulge covered with tinsel-ice. These conditions combined with a large overhanging summit cornice stopped us less than 100 feet below the summit of the north peak and caused us to beat a hasty retreat to the safety of Camp II. We descended by down- climbing and rappelling our entire route. It should be noted, however, that immediately after completing the southwest face portion of the climb it would be possible to traverse from the west ridge to the regular north-ridge route on Alpamayo and complete the climb to the summit, although this would be a highly circuitous means of summiting the north peak. On July 8 we three climbed Kitaraju by third-classing the north face. The route provided 2000 feet of enjoyable glacier ice ranging in steepness from 40° to 45°.

Glenn Porzak