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South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Huandoy Sur, No Fiesta Hoy Dia

Huandoy Sur, No Fiesta Hoy Dia. I noticed the northeast face of Huandoy Sur the first time I visited Peru, in 1990. It is clearly visible from the approach to Pisco, looking steep and difficult. Five years later I climbed a new route on it, Oro del Inca, which crosses the steep rock band and follows ice directly to the top. But the rock face to the right was untouched.

This year I had no intention of continuing my solo ascents in the Cordillera Blanca. I came with Urban Golob, also from Slovenia, but after acclimatising he had to give up due to health problems. So, solo again. The weather was not perfect, but good enough, and I started climbing early in the night on July 4. The approach had changed since 1995: the glacier was much easier now.

I started right of my 1995 route. After an easy icefield I found a good path to the rock and mixed ground of the route’s central part. I used ice tools on rock (dry tooling). The rock was solid in difficult sections but worse on easier ground. Some short icefalls helped me avoid difficult rock. The upper icefield was relatively easy, although steeper than the lower one, but the 150 meters above were really difficult. I hoped to find a steep gully through the overhanging seracs above the icefield, and there were possibilities. But the quality of the black ice, combined with powder snow, was so bad that I had to descend more than 100 meters before finding a way through the seracs on the third attempt. It was still hard and risky, passing overhanging ice, but the top was too close for me to return without reaching it. I reached it in fog and snow at about 1 p.m., after seven hours of climbing, and immediately started to descend the French Route (Astier, 1979) on the same face. The descent took five hours.

I named the route No Fiesta Hoy Dia (ED sup, AI6+ M5/6 WI5). There was a relatively large amount of ice on the face this year, and it probably made the central rock easier. But the final seracs were probably harder than usual.

This is my fifth new route on big walls of the Cordillera Blanca (four solo): Huascaran, Chacraraju, Huandoy (two), and Chopicalqui. I consider NO Fiesta Hoy Dia my hardest solo in the Andes.

Pavle Kozjek, Slovenia