American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordillera Huayhuash, Jirishanca Chico, Southeast Face, Sweet Child of Mine

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2003

Jirishanca Chico, southeast face, Sweet Child of Mine. After we returned from the southeast face of Jirishanca Grande, realizing that we wouldn't have a chance to try again, I was nevertheless full of energy. The weather was still sunny, so I proposed to Rok Zalokar that we try the southeast face of Jirishanca Chico, by a direct line seen from base camp. We woke early and spent an hour walking over the moraine and an hour crossing the broken glacier, reaching the face around 6 a.m. The first 250m were easy, and we climbed unroped. At first we thought that we could climb the whole face unroped, but we were surprised. There were ten meters of difficult mixed climbing and steep snow in the lower part. We hadn't expected such steep climbing and didn't take Friends or nuts, only four pitons, some slings, one snow blade, and three ice screws, which we used in the upper part. I led the first mixed pitch, which took us to a snow-and-ice gully. The average angle of the seven pitches we climbed was 65". We missed the gear lying in base camp, but it didn't help to think about the gear. We didn't even think about the serac that overhung the gully. We took five hours from the base to the summit of this beautiful mountain.

We had planned to descend by the west ridge, then the short part of south face to the glacier. This descent, however, turned out to be impossible, so I decided to descend the north face. We were forced to downclimb the upper part, because we didn't have enough gear and could make only 30m abseils. After 180m the terrain become too difficult, so we made four Abalakovs. We found a rocky ridge on the lower part of the face, which took us to the bottom. We shook hands smiling, said, "Thank you, God," and walked the long way over ridges back to base camp. We spent 14 hours on this unforgettable adventure.

URBAN AZMAN, Slovenia

Note: Although Azman reports finding no sign of previous passage on this route, which ascends the middle of three parallel couloirs dropping directly from the summit, it is unclear whether this route is new or the same as the 1984 Italian route on the face. If the route is new, Azman proposes the name Sweet Child of Mine-Ed.

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