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Extreme Skiing in the Cordillera Blanca and Tsurup Oeste, Southwest Face

Extreme Skiing in the Cordillera Blanca and Tsurup Oeste, Southwest Face. Eric Favret, André Genand and I skied the north face of Kitaraju on May 31. On June 8 we skied the northwest face of Alpamayo from the highest point we could, some 200 feet below the summit. On June 18 we skied the west rib of Huascarán. We got involved in the rescue of two Canadian women, one of whom, Wilma Mitchell, unfortunately lost her life in a fall from the west rib. On June 24 I teamed up with Englishman Mark Miller to climb a new line on the southwest face of Tsurup Oeste. We made the same start as the American and Spanish routes but finished up a gully on the right of the face. This difficult mixed climb took us nine hours from a bivouac on the second lake. Favret flew back to France and Genand and I were joined by Christophe Gauthier, Georges Sichap and Jacques Mounin. We skied off Pisco on July 2. I made a solo ski descent of Palcaraju to the Quebrada Cojup on July 6. We climbed Copa on July 11; Genand and Gauthier skied down while I used a ski-sail. After rejecting the normal route on Hualcán because of dangerous séracs, on July 15 Sichap, Gauthier and I climbed the west rib. Sichap descended the normal route on foot and we other two skied the west rib, a hard, exposed descent up to 55°. Gauthier skied the south face of Artesonraju on July 21, beyond question one of the greatest extreme ski descents in the Cordillera Blanca. Gauthier climbed the west rib of Huascarán on July 29 but skied down between it and the normal route because of ice. That same day I climbed the southwest rib of Tocllaraju. Bad weather forced me to ski the normal, northwest ridge. Snow conditions became poorer and poorer. Mounin climbed Huamashraju on August 5 and Gauthier ascended Huamashraju Este by its east ridge and Cashan Este by its northwest ridge on August 6 and 7.

Benoit Chamoux, Club Alpin Français