South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, La Esfinge, Welcome to the Slabs of Koricancha
La Esfinge, Welcome to the Slabs of Koricancha. On June 18, Slovaks Dusan Beranek, Rado Staruch, and I reached the top of La Esfinge (5,325m), having climbed a new route, Welcome to the Slabs of Koricancha (650m, 13 pitches, V 5.13b), via the largest slabs on the east face. We spent 10 days on this amazing granite tower in the Parón Valley and named the route in honor of the Incan sun temple in Cuzco. The route starts at 4,650m at the base of the east face, next to Ganxets Glacé (VI 5.9 A2, Ortuño-Salvadó, 1996). Ganxets Glacé leads to a ledge in the middle of the wall and continues to the right through an impressive chimney. Welcome To the Slabs connects with Ganxets Glacé at the ledge, via a direct line, and continues left and up through the slabs between two distinct black water streaks to the route Here Comes the Sun (VI 5.11 A3, Bigger-Regan, 2000).
We first climbed the route using aid at 7b+ (5.12c) A1, but with an all-free line in our minds. We placed 29 bolts at belays and 68 on the pitches, using a power drill and delicate hooking. We fixed the route to the ledge in the middle of the wall and set up portaledges. From there we climbed three difficult slab pitches between the black water streaks and four easier pitches directly to the top of The Sphinx. On June 23 Dusan, belayed by me, succeeded in free- climbing the route in one day in redpoint style. On June 25 and 26 Rado Staruch and I also climbed the route free, with Rado onsighting the crux sixth pitch (5.13b).
Vlado Linek, Slovakia, adapted from Alpinist #5