American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Southern Peru, Salcantay, Southwest Face to the East Peak

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1987

Salcantay, Southwest Face to the East Peak. The southwest face of Sal- cantay is some 5000 feet high and had before this year not been climbed, despite several previous attempts. Our team climbed a line on the right side of the face. It was of mixed nature in the first half and all snow and ice in the upper half. The whole face is subject to avalanche danger from unstable séracs and cornices. This is particularly true in the first half. The second half became difficult due to snowfall during the ascent which produced spindrift slides. If a heavy fall of snow had occurred, this would have become a dangerous place indeed. The overall grading is of alpine ED. The route includes rock pitches of alpine IV and V (all short), some tricky mixed climbing and ice up to Scottish grade V, although most of the ice climbing is of grade III. We climbed in two separate parties, staying relatively close together. Peter Leeming, Duncan Francis and I were the first group and Paul Harris and Keith Milne the second. The ascent took place between August 4 and 7. We bivouacked three times on the ascent, once below the central hanging glacier, once on it and once above. We reached the east peak, which is about 6140 meters (20,145 feet) but did not traverse to the main summit, which lay a half mile to the west. The descent took two days down the east ridge.

Mark Lowe, North London Mountaineering Club

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