American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Southern Peru, Salcantay, North Face, Cordillera Vilcabamba

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989

Salcantay, North Face, Cordillera Vilcabamba. From June 19 to 21, Peruvian Alberto Callupe and I made a new route on the north face of Salcantay. We approached in three days from Mollepata to the north side of Paso Palcay. The southeast and the east ridges make a triangle which join at 5800 meters. On the right side, there is a large snow saddle in the east ridge which we reached easily by the glacier below the rock buttress for our first bivouac. From the saddle, we traversed horizontally for 300 meters into the lower part of the north face. Right of a rock ledge with dangerous séracs above it, we climbed a 40° ice gully for 100 meters to an ice ridge at the foot of an immense amphitheater of snow slopes that culminated in a giant rock tower that wore a hat of séracs. We ascended the slopes to the right edge of the tower where we escaped into a steep ice gully which led for 120 meters up beside the tower to the upper platform of the face. We traversed 200 meters to the right and climbed the final snow slopes more or less straight up to the flat east ridge, which led to the east summit. There were good bivouac sites on the way to the ridge. With this alpine-style ascent, Callupe made the first Peruvian ascent of Salcantay. He was the first Peruvian to make the direct west face of Yerupajá in 1983 and the southwest face of Sarapo in 1986.

Hans Zebrowski, Deutscher Alpenverein

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