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South America, Ecuador, Illiniza Sur, Southwest Face

Illiniza Sur, Southwest Face. After two previous visits in poor weather we made a new route on the southwest face of Illiniza Sur on September 13, 1982. Our team consisted of Jorge and Delia Montopoli and me. The approach to this face is much more lengthy than to the traditional and shorter north-face route. From the pass (c. 3600 meters, 12,000 feet) at Loma de Huinza on the Latacunga-Sigchos road we walked approximately eight hours to the base of the westernmost glacier located just north of the prominent, crumbling rock towers that divide the south and west sides of the mountain. Before dawn we followed the heavily crevassed but not steep glacier on its left until we found a snow ramp (40°) that inclines further left and carried us above the first rock walls. We climbed a steep couloir (75°, 50 meters) that is evident to the right, angling to the right at its top along a mild ridge until we encountered a short ice wall (85°, 5 meters). This left us 100 meters below the final southwest knife-ridge which brought us to the summit (5266 meters 17,277 feet). The ascent took five hours for 900 meters and required complete ice equipment. Variation: rather than follow the snow ramp through the first rock wall, an ice wall 150 meters to its left (north) can be climbed (75°-85°, 100 meters). From here look right for the steep couloir.

Thomas K. Hunt, Unaffiliated