American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Caraz II, South Face Variation

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2002

Caraz II, south face variation. After we returned from the Huayhuash we climbed in the Blanca. Viktor Mlinar and I decided to climb the Fisher-Warfield-Sheldrake route on the south face of Caraz II (6020m), also called Caraz de Santa Cruz. The route was climbed in 1986, graded alpine TD+, and is 700 meters high. The first-ascent team ended the route at the east ridge, about 300 meters from the summit, and descended by rappelling the route. They spent three days round-trip. The wall faces more southeast than south, so it receives sun until noon.

On August 3 we started from our bivouac site at around 3 a.m. Luckily we passed the very broken glacier and climbed the lower, easier part of the route unroped, in ideal conditions. Halfway up the route we started to place protection. We climbed mixed pitches (Scottish V). Conditions on the upper part of the wall were bad. We needed four hours to climb the last three pitches on a snowy crest to reach the east ridge. We were happy, but realized that it was too soon to celebrate. The ridge is very corniced, and it took us another four hours to climb to the summit, which we reached at 2 p.m. The weather was still nice, just a bit windy. I don’t know where exactly the Fisher-Warfield-Sheldrake goes in its upper part, but I think we climbed a different line.

We started to climb down the original 1955 route (Huber-Koch, 800 meters) but had to make two short rappels—one in the upper part to overcome a 25-meter vertical step and the second to pass the 25-meter bergschrund. After 16 hours we reached our bivy site. The next day we descended to Laguna Paron and via Caraz returned to Huaraz. We took three days for the whole trip.

Matic Jost, Slovenia

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