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South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Huandoysur, Crise del fe  

Huandoy Sur, Crise del fe. What a crazy idea we had! Five young guys—Yann Bonneville, Benoit Chanal, Francois Dupety, Pierrick Keller, and Theo Dubois—suddenly decided to travel to a mythical destination, not yet knowing exactly where. Finally we chose Peru. Now we needed to decide which mountain to climb. The name Huandoy Sur entered the discussion. “Why? Don’t you know of anything steeper?” Benoit asked jokingly. No, I don’t. Maybe that’s why Huandoy Sur. Anyway, we set to work. We tried to find sponsors, but due to our organizational skills and lack of time, we didn’t receive sponsorship. Oh well! We’ll go anyway and see what we can do! In the end, some friends helped us gather enough gear to attack this monster.

We began climbing on July 26, and the initial pitches seemed difficult, cold, and committing. For several days the mountain seemed so far above our level that we were hesitant to commit. Each day came down to scratching our way a few meters higher. And then, as I read in a famous passage, “It’s necessary to shatter the myths, to go too far too fast, what’s important is that you feel ready mentally.” There was nothing to do but keep up our morale.

After doubt concerning the conditions came doubt concerning the objective dangers. Getting hit in the head by a falling rock hurts, but when it happens twice, then three times, then becomes routine, you begin to ask what you’re doing there. But after evaluating the risks we had already taken, we decided to continue.

The summit, which we gained on August 21 at 5:15 p.m., was a huge relief. The face was definitely a learning experience but not impossible. While climbing we managed to find a little pleasure, but not the rest of the time. You have no desire to jug up the fixed lines again, simply loading your pack is exhausting, your hands are trashed, and women are nowhere to be seenæall good reasons for turning back! However, the attitude of the group was excellent, and the visits and support from women at camp allowed us to keep our spirits up and finally arrive at the summit, exhausted but HAPPY! We called our route Crise del fe (900m, ED+ 6a A4 M5). (This route ascends the overhanging granite wall left of the Desmaison Route (1972), then continues with the Casarotto-Da Polenza Route (1976), on vertical mixed ground with bad rock, to intersect the southwest ridge, which they followed for the final 100 vertical meters to the summit—Ed.)

Pierrick Keller, France (translated by Todd Miller)

Note: Confusion exists regarding the terminology used to describe Nevado Ultas north and west aspects. The broad face, shown with two route lines in AAJ 2001 (p. 275), was labeled “northwest face,” and many climbers refer to it as such. Other climbers, however, call this the “west face,” or “ west-northwest face.” In the interest of consistency, in the reports below we call this the west-north- west face and the adjacent feature (which has been called the north or northwest face or bowl) the northwest bowl—Ed.