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South America, Peru—Cordillera Blanca, Chopicalqui, East Ridge

Chopicalqui, East Ridge. Our expedition was composed of René Desmaison. Dr. Alain Vagne, Guy Giraud, David Autheman, Michel Arizzi and me. We had our Base Camp in the Quebrada Honda and established two more camps to acclimatize and to move up supplies. We prepared the route on the beginning of the unclimbed east ridge for three days, finding fixed ropes of a previous attempt in the first 650 feet. On August 17 Desmaison, Vagne, Arizzi and I set out. In the first part we had snow and ice with problems of huge cornices and varying snow-and-ice conditions. A section had rotten rock. The cornices were so high and thin that we had windows through to the other side, veritable labyrinths of ice. The climb was complicated by unstable weather and heavy loads. We each carried a rucksack and we had two haul sacks since we were making a movie. We made seven bivouacs and reached the summit on August 25.

Xavier Chappaz. Compagnie de Guides, Chamonix, France