American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Paron Valley, Aguja III and Caraz I, Attempts 

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2001

Aguja III and Caraz I, Attempts. In mid-June, I hooked up with Stephen Koch in Huaraz for some fine climbing in the Paron Valley. We spent a day carrying loads up from the refugio, then got hopelessly cliffed out trying to descend directly to the lake (not recommended).

What followed, however, was a pleasant week spent in the high country of the Blanca. We soaked up views across the valley of Huandoy Norte. Our campsite was remote and seldom visited. We left late one morning to climb five pitches of steep snow and ice in a narrow couloir on its south-southwest side to just below the summit of Aguja III.

The main objective, however, was the south face of Caraz I. Our intended route was a directissima left of the Albi Sole route, that passed through the summit rock pyramid directly to the summit. Two thousand feet of snow and ice to 65 degrees began the day. Next came 600 feet of steep ice and mixed terrain, with rotten ice in places, to below the rock pyramid. One steep crack pitch led to a narrow stance where a diagonal feature appeared to lead out right, through the steepest part of the rock, to the summit snows. Unfortunately, the rock was horrendously loose, so we could not safely push the route to summit. We rappelled 16 ropelengths, with some down climbing, to reach the base of the mountain. I believe the route is climbable by a party willing to take the risks of aiding on steep, very loose rock in a remote location.

Jim Earl, unaffiliated

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