Cordillera Raura, Various New Routes. Our team was composed of Germans Dieter Ruelker, Joerg Stingl, Axel Jahn, Jan Lettke, and me as leader. After three weeks of classic ice climbs in the Cordillera Blanca (the Simpson Spur on Ranrapalca, the West Face Direct on Tocllaraju, the Southeast Face on Artesonraju, and the East Face of Caraz I), we switched to a base camp in the Cordillera Raura, only a few kilometers southeast from Oyón, a small mining city at the head of the road from Churin into the Raura. From a beautiful campsite at 4700 meters near Laguna Yuracocha, we made a handful of climbs, some of them new.
On July 16, we made the first ascent of the 700-meter south face of Cerro Chacua Grande (5405m) in a direct line (V 65°). The summit was previously reached only once, 29 years ago! Polish climbers A. Bilczewski and A. Zyzak, who reached the summit on August 6 in 1971, used a route on the west pillar.
On July 18, we attempted the south face of Chacua Norte (5165m), a minor summit on the long rocky ridge between Chacua Grande and the saddle to the south (this saddle was formerly crossed by one of the main trails of the Inca empire). After six rope lengths of easy but pleasurable rock climbing, we reached the summit, where we found no marks of previous ascents. It’s still uncertain if the summit had been reached before, but doubtless our route through excellent limestone rock was a new one and so we named it American Sport Polio (IV, 300m).
The next day, we ascended Cerro Rumi Cruz Sur (5360m) via the icy south face and finally over the rocky west ridge, which was an easy but nice climb. Ours was probably the second ascent, after that of the Polish climbers in 1971.
Finally, on July 20, I made a solo traverse of the three minor summits of Chacua Sur (5160m), Chacua Central (5195m) and Chacua Norte (5165m). The climb from southeast to northwest was easy (II-III) but dangerous due to very loose rock.
By the way, very close to our camp site we explored a fantastic bouldering area with hundreds of possibilities on oversized blocks. If you are acclimatized for bouldering at 4700 meters above sea level, it’s really scenic there!
Markus Walter, Alpine Club Saxony