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South America, Peru—Cordillera Blanca, Pirámide, Northwest Face, Artesonraju, Chinchey

Pirámide, Northwest Face, Artesonraju, Chinchey. In June Steve Friddle, Eric Peterson and I headed to the Laguna Parón for a month of climbing. A quick warm-up attempt on Pisco led to pulmonary edema for Peterson. We are grateful to the boss at the Electroperú project for evacuating him to Huaraz. With Eric gone, Friddle and I turned to Pirámide. We climbed to the low saddle on Pirámide’s west ridge, but the ridge was out of the question. We decided on the steep northwest face. After traversing four pitches along the lower lip of the bergschrund we crossed it. Three pitches on 60° névé brought us to a bivouac under an ice cliff at 18,000 feet. The next morning, June 9, we climbed a pitch of 80° water ice to a sloping bench. Two moderate pitches took us to the steep ice flutes of the upper face. After several steep pitches, we were forced to traverse six flutes to the left into a major flute, which led to the west ridge just below the summit. Our route may be a new variation. Peterson returned. On June 13 and 14 all three of us climbed Artesonraju’s smooth south face. Using running belays, with two or three belays between us at all times, we climbed quickly, in 7½ hours, with 2½ hours to descend. On July 23 I soloed Chinchey’s northwest face from the Pucaranra-Chinchey col. Due to melting and little snowfall, some classic ice routes of the 1960s and early 1970s may be very difficult now. A final word of warning: because it is so easy to move quickly to high altitude, the possibility of edema should be taken very seriously.

Paul Dvirnak, Unaffiliated