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South America, Peru, Rasac, Traverse of the Mountain

Rasac, Traverse of the Mountain. Paul Gonzales and I took the bus to Chiquin from Huaraz in Peru, then hiked for two days into the center of the Cordillera Huayhuash. Passing through the austere towns of Llamac and Jahuacocha, once the epicenter of Sendero Luminoso terrorist activity, we encountered no other westerners. Despite the lack of climbing and tourist scene to be found in Huaraz, the local people are very friendly and hospitable. After establishing camp at the Yerupaja Base Camp, we climbed five pitches of varying quality rock on the east face to attain the south ridge of Rasac (6043 meters). From this very tiny alpine corniced ridge, we traversed the complete ridge to the summit and then descended the northeast face. We believe this to be the first complete traverse of the mountain from south to north (V 5.8 AI 3-4). On the descent, we paid a cold price as we were benighted just a few rappels from the glacial floor. Elsewhere in the same area at the 4000-meter level, quality limestone rock climbing potential is abundant.

James Garrett