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South America, Peru, Cordillera Huarochirí, Various First Ascents

Cordillera Huarochirí, Various First Ascents. This range, known locally as the Cordillera Pariacacca, is located south of the mining town of La Oroya. Names for the range, such as Cordillera Central and Nevados de Cochas, that have been applied by expeditions are unknown to local inhabitants. The range contains some 100 rock and ice peaks from 5000 to 5751 meters. About half of them have seen ascents. The most common route of access is La Oroya-Pachacayo, but in the last few years, Peruvian mountaineers have also opened a new Lima-San Mateo-Yuracmayo approach, which yields access to the western side of the range.

In July, the Peruvian climber Alberto Murguía and I inaugurated the northern approach from La Oroya to the San Cristobal mine; it is very good for mountaineering among the northernmost peaks of the range. All three approaches involve driveable roads. In May, 1999, alone, using the Pachacayo approach, I made the first ascents of Cerro Surao (5150m), and Uchuctunshu (5050m). A week later, Murguía and I made the first of Cerro Chuctuc (5000m), and an attempt on Cerro Entabladas (5100m). A year later, in July, 2000, Murguía and I put to use the hitherto untried north access via the San Cristobal mine. We made the first ascent of the fine ice peak of Jatun Jaico (5302m). Murguía then had to return to Lima. After three days marooned in my tent by snowstorms, I climbed Nevado Chujupucro (5150m) and the unnamed 5200-meter nevado that I christened Yurachucclju (“White Cricket”). All three were first ascents. A week later, in mid-July, I entered the mountains by the San Mateo-Yuracmayo approach and made the first ascent of the rocky peak of Riguis (5000m), and climbed two other peaks higher than 5100 meters that were crowned by cairns erected by local highlanders. In late July, Murguía returned to the western side with Guillermo Portocarrero and climbed Nevado Paccha (5350m). Two weeks later, Murguía returned alone and made another first ascent, that of a ca. 5300-meter ice peak located between Paccha and the massive Nevado Vicuñita (5500m).

Evelio EchevarrÍa