American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordillera Huayhaush, Jirishanca, South Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

Jirishanca, South Face. Our group, consisting of Matt Kerns, Tom Hargis, Gwen Hall, Hal Tompkins, Brian Cox and me, set up camp at Jahuacocha on June 14. We placed a higher camp at 16,500 feet on the Rasac ridge close to the Yerupajá Glacier. On June 19 Cox, Tompkins and I climbed Rasac via the east face and descended the southeast ridge to the col. The following day Hargis and Kerns repeated the ascent while Tompkins and I scouted a route from camp through the icefall of the Yerupajá Glacier to the foot of the west face of TAM Sur. After a rest day Kerns, Hargis, Tompkins and I crossed the icefall and skirted TAM Sur to gain the col to its south. From there we could see a promising bivouac site on the lip of the bergschrund part way up the south face of Jirishanca. (First ascent by Dean Caldwell and Jon Bowlin in 1971.

See A.A.J., 1972, pp. 43-5.) We arrived there in time to enjoy a spectacular sunset, but falling ice during the night made us realize that our choice of bivouac site left something to be desired. The next morning we turned the bergschrund on the left and soon gained the Ramp, the steep, uniform ice slope that sweeps up to the summit ridge. Although no further bivouac sites were visible from below, we climbed on into the night, hoping to come across something suitable. By midnight we gave up and spent a miserable night hanging from ice screws in the buffeting wind and whipping spindrift. A large part of the next day was spent chopping out an ample ledge. We got a late start on June 25 and did not complete the five pitches to the summit ridge until dusk in deteriorating weather. We rappelled the ascent route, using bollards as anchors. On July 2 Hargis, Kerns, Tompkins and I climbed to the top of Tsacra Chico by the north face.

Donald Frederickson

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.