American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Palcaraju Sur, New Route

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998

Palcaraju Sur, New Route. Palcaraju Sur (6100m) is at the end of the Cojup range in the Cordillera Blanca. Pedro Gonzales Bris and I established base camp at 4300 meters on July 3 in the ruins of the site Electroperu once used to modify runoffs into the lake that retains the water from the glaciers. After acclimating by going up Jacomontepunku (5400m) on July 4 and resting the next day in base camp, we started our ascent on the 6th. We slept in an ice cave on the glacier so we could begin the climb at five in the morning on July 7. We started the climb on the right of a rocky pillar, which gave a more protected and safer line, then traveled to the left to get to the most direct line that comes down from the south summit. The first third of the route was done over ice with a moderate incline of 65-70°, then we found a mixed area that was steeper and with poorer ice conditions (80°) which made the ascent slower and more precarious. After this section we were benighted and had to bivouac in an ice cave below a meringue-like cornice formed typically in this area. The next morning, after a short section of rock (V+ AO) and an upward traverse on vertical ice, we arrived at the summit of Palcaraju Sur. Our intent had been to follow the summit arête until the joining of the main and southern summit points and then to descend from the main summit. But due to the instability of the arête, which was formed by meringues of rotten powder snow, we decided to descend on the opposite side from where we had done the ascent. After eight rappels of 60 meters each we arrived at the glacier where we bivied again in an ice cave. The next day we crossed the ridge between Pucarranra and Palcaraju and descended to base camp. We named our route Un Rayo de Sol (ED- 90° AO, 800m).

Jose Maria Polanco, Spain

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