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South America, Peru, Tacusiri, Ausangate and Other Peaks, Cordillera Vilcanota

Tacusiri, Ausangate and Other Peaks, Cordillera Vilcanota. Because of terrorism in the Cordillera Huayhuash, we changed our objective to the Vilcanota. On June 13, Bruce Jardine, Andy Bunnage, John Lyall and I established Base Camp on the banks of Jatun Pucacocha. To the north, the icefalls of Ausangate tumbled into the turquoise lake. The spectacular rock spires of the Surimani group rose to the south. During our stay, all four climbed Tacusiri by the northeast ridge and Ausangate (6372 meters, 20,905 feet) from the southeast. We made the first ascents of three peaks which lie west of Señal Nevado Extremo Ausangate. Lyall and I in 9½ hours climbed an obvious couloir directly up the center of the triangular south face of P 5300 (17,389 feet; Grid Reference 545745), an excellent 650 meters of steep ice and mixed climbing. The other two peaks lie east of the first. From a snow hole south of a col between them. Jardine, Bunnage and I climbed P 5370 (17,618 feet; GR 550750) and P 5400 (17,717 feet; GR 555745). Perhaps the most difficult route was Lyall and Bunnage’s on Tacurani, the spectacular spire southwest of Base Camp. A couloir led to the notch south of the summit and was followed by steep mixed ground on the south face, 400 meters of very technical climbing. They descended the northeast ridge. At the same time, Jardine and I climbed the south peak of Jatunhuma. We failed to climb new routes on the north side of Ausangate and the impressive southwest face of Mariposa because of delicate snow conditions.

Steven Asithorpe, Scotland