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South America, Southern Peru, Verónica, Attempt on the Unclimbed Northeast Buttress, Cordillera Urumbamba

Verónica, Attempt on the Unclimbed Northeast Buttress, Cordillera Ur- umbamba. Stuart Thompson, Roger Gott, John James, Mark Lewis, John Burrow and I were in the area from July 19 to August 25. We attempted two routes on the northeast buttress from a Base Camp at 13,300 feet, situated between the northeast and north-northeast buttresses. The northeast buttress consists of three rock towers which rise from left to right as seen from Base Camp towards the summit snow dome. Splitting the first and second towers is a deep rock gully and between the second and third, a small glacier. The third tower merges into the summit icefields and snow dome leading to Verónica’s summit (5894 meters, 19,340 feet). We first tried the rock gully and reached 15,975 feet, but the rock in the gully and on the second tower was rotten and unsafe. The second attempt followed a diagonal line from the base of the second tower up steep, glacier- worn slabs and a series of gullies and chimneys to the icefield between the second and third towers, which we crossed at 15,900 feet. A wide chimney led rightwards to the crest of the tower, which we followed to the junction of the tower with the summit icefields. We bivouacked below the first icefield at 15,250 feet and at the junction of the third tower and the summit icefields at 16,400 feet. We climbed on the final snow dome to 17,550 feet at first with many crevasses and soft snow. The steep slopes of the final dome had dangerous séracs. We gave up when a section of séracs collapsed across our proposed route through the cliffs.

Michael Rosser, Wales