Siula Grande, West Face, Avoiding the Touch. On June 16, Carlos Buhler and I completed a new route on the west face of Siula Grande in the Cordillera Hauyhuash of Peru. This was the same mountain face on which the British climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates endured the great survival epic described eloquently in Simpson’s book Touching the Void. Our route followed the Simpson/Yates ascent until approximately the middle of the face, at which point we climbed up and left into a gully that went directly to the summit. In 24 pitches of climbing, the route was constantly technical with sections of thin ice up to 80 degrees. Our attempt to descend the north ridge proved to be terrifyingly tedious. Slow progress on the dangerously corniced ridge prompted a decision to rappel a line to the left of our ascent. Twenty rappels (two on rock, 18 on ice) put us on the glacier, having spent three and a half days on the ascent with another two and a half on the descent. We called our route Avoiding the Touch (WI4, ca. 1000m).
Mark Price, unaffiliated