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South America, Peru—Cordillera Blanca, Chopicalqui, Entire Northwest Ridge

Chopicalqui, Entire Northwest Ridge. From the Llanganuco valley on July 30 Alberto Campanile and I climbed the trail towards the Portechuelo (pass), which we left before the high point. We climbed the moraine of Chopicalqui’s north side to the beginning of the northwest ridge. (This ridge was climbed to the top of the 20,000-foot foresummit by Cooper, Janney, Everett and Phillips on July 12, 1968.—Editor.) In the first part we were threatened by rockfall and falling ice. It took us four hours to climb from the foot of the moraine at 14,100 feet to 16,700 feet. In the last 650 feet the slope averaged 50°. We followed the narrow ridge crest, which had two difficult steps. On the upper part of the first one we passed through a gap that gave access to the top. The second step was of rotten granite. It was a series of steep pitches between ledges, followed by a 50-foot dihedral with a chockstone and a final 50-foot wall. We climbed along the ridge to the top of the 20,000- foot northern foresummit. From the top of this, we made several rappels and continued up the final corniced ridge to the summit of Chopicalqui (6354 meters, 20,848 feet), which we reached on August 3. The alpine- style climb took us five days of which three were stormy.

Renato Casarotto, Club Alpino ltaliano