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South America, Peru, Cordillera Apolobamba, Ananea Group Various Ascents

Ananea Group, various ascents. John Biggar led an expedition to the seldom-visited Peruvian section of the Cordillera Apolobamba. Traveling via Puno and Juliaca the team, which comprised Biggar, M. Aurelio, J. Cargill, J. Lewis, R. Nuttall, and J. Starbuck, arrived in August at the small gold-mining village of Ananea, set at a remarkable altitude of 4,700m. This is a very remote part of Peru, rarely visited by climbers, so it is not surprising that the team saw no other western travelers during their two weeks in this area. Snow conditions were poor, due to unusually unsettled weather, but the team made four ascents.

On August 9 Biggar, Cargill, and Starbuck climbed Nocaria (5,412m) via its easy south ridge. The whole team then walked from Ananea to a base camp at beautiful Laguna Callumachayo, from which on the 11th all the climbers made an ascent of Asnococha (ca 5,300m). From the 12th to the 14th the whole team made what they believe to be the first ascent of the southeast ridge of Ananea (5,853m). This peakæwhich, together with the equally high Callijon (a.k.a. Poderosa) a little to the east, is one of the two highest in the immediate areaæis one of the few with much climbing history. It was first ascended, probably from the south, in 1958 by the Italian team of Frigieri, Magni, Mellano, Merendi, Oggioni, Sterna, and Zamboni. (As the first mountaineering expedition to visit the Peruvian section of the Apolobamba, this group was responsible for nearly all the first ascents in this region.) Ananea was climbed again in 1960, and in 1973 a French team made a difficult ice route up the southwest face. In 1983 another French team climbed the relatively straightforward north face. The southeast ridge, climbed by the 2002 British party, was an excellent, narrow, but straightforward ascent.

Moving to the border peaks, the whole team made a probable first ascent on August 17 of the southeast ridge of Chocñacota Este (5,350m, first climbed by the Italians in 1958), which gave a pleasant rock scramble. Three days later Biggar, Nuttall, and Starbuck attempted Palomani Norte (5,629m, also first climbed by the Italians) but were forced back just 50m below the top due to avalanche risk on a short headwall.

Lindsay Griffin, High Mountain INFO