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South America, Peru, Cordillera Huayhuash, Siula Grande, Los Rapidos

Siula Grande, Los Rapidos. On July 3 Marjan Kovac and Pavle Kozjek (both from Slovenia) and Aritza Monasterio (Spanish Basque living in Peru) climbed a new route on the northeast face of Siula Grande (Los Rapidos, 1000m, ED, 90° [crux]/55°–70° [average]) in eight hours, with another seven for the descent. This is the first route in the center of the face. The last ascent of this remote wall was probably made in 1978 on the far right side (ED, Blumenthaler–Gruner–Kaser–Schoisswahl).

The 2002 team started on July 1 from base camp at Lake Carhuacocha and reached the glacier below Yerupaja at 4,800m in variable weather. Next day they found their way across the chaotic glaciers of Yerupaja and Siula to the base of Siula’s northeast face at about 5,300m. During the night the weather improved and they started climbing at 5 a.m. Conditions were good, and they could follow the line in the center of the wide face, avoiding the obvious horizontal rock barriers that give a special character to this wall. The hardest climbing was in the last 150m, where they had to find their way through overhanging seracs, following steep gullies with hard ice and powder snow. They reached the top at 1 p.m. and descended their route, downclimbing and rappelling. They descended the last 300m at night and returned to the glacier to find their tent destroyed by wind. They climbed in a rapid, lightweight style, taking only drinks and climbing equipment. Except for the last 150m, they climbed unroped.

Pavle Kozjek, Slovenia