American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru-Cordillera Blanca, Pukarashta Group and Pukahirca Sur Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1992

Pukarashta Group and Pukahirca Sur and Tragedy. Above an Alpamayo Base Camp in the Arhueikocha Quebrada is the long Pukahirka-Pukarashta ridge, which had remained untouched from the south until a British team climbed five lines on it in June. Australians Neil Kemp and Duncan Thomas and I, a Scot, climbed an easy gully between Pukarashta Central and Pukarashta Oeste on June 15 to link with the west-ridge route climbed by Kekus and Howard in 1980 and continued to the summit of Pucarashta Oeste (c. 5450 meters, 17,881 feet). The next day, Phil Moorey, Mick Davie and Steve Di Ponio reached the summit of Pukarashta Central (5500 meters, 18,045 feet) after climbing the south face. The team then divided into three pairs with Simon Lee joining Kemp to climb a Scottish-style gully on the southwest face of Pukarashta Oeste on June 19. Thomas and I trudged further along the glacier to the obvious couloir on the southwest face of Pukahirca Sur. We reached the top (6039 meters, 19,814 feet) early on the morning of July 20 while Moorey and Davie were climbing the difficult south face of Pukarashta Este (5500 meters, 18,045 feet). Upon reaching the summit, Moorey fell in an abseiling accident, leaving Davie to solo down the route and seek help. Moorey subsequently died on June 21 whilst being evacuated.

David Sharman, Scotland

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