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South America, Bolivia, Pico del Norte, South Buttress and Gorra de Hielo, Cordillera Real

Pico del Norte, South Buttress and Gorra de Hielo, Cordillera Real. In the late spring we climbed in the Cordillera Real and made several new routes from Base Camp on the east side of Illampu. Alain Mesili, Bernard Chaux and I took three days to climb the extremely difficult south buttress of the Pico del Norte (6085 meters, 19,955 feet) in 27 pitches. The first three were of vertical Yosemite-type granite, followed by a roof. We fixed this part in six hours on the first day and left equipment above the overhang. On the second day we jümared up the prepared section, climbed broken slabs and then mixed terrain to the summit cap. We descended the east face on snow by a new route. We made two new routes on the Gorra de Hielo (5700 meters, 19,701 feet). Michel Drapier and Mesili climbed the southwest ridge while Gaby Pellicot, Chaux and I ascended the west couloir, 1350 feet high and up to 60°. I descended on skis, belayed in parts.

Georges Bettembourg, Club Alpin Français