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South America, Peru, Cordillera Huayhuash, Puscanturpa Norte, Various Activity

Puscanturpa Norte, various activity. July saw multiple teams camped below Puscanturpa Norte (5,652m), hoping to complete routes on the columned rock buttress of the northwest face. British climbers Mark Pretty, Nic Sellars, and Sam Whittaker first attempted Pasta Religion (F7a+, Baudry- Daudet-Lombard, 2000) on the northwest face, ground-up, hoping for an onsight ascent. This might have been achieved were it not for a fall on the crux seventh pitch due to a broken hold. This pitch was then yo-yoed, while all others were climbed onsight. The climbing was often bold, routefinding could sometimes be tricky, and the difficulties were found to be high, with British 6b climbing on the third pitch, and the seventh and eighth graded E6 6b and E6 6a, respectively. After five days the team terminated their ascent at the top of the 12th pitch. After the first pitch (E3 6a) they note 10 consecutive pitches of E4 and above, or F6c+ to 7a+, making for a very sustained route. Above, looser terrain led to the summit ridge and a huge and hideous cornice. They then turned their attention to their proposed new line, but found it to be largely crackless. Their ethics forbade drilled protection, so with time running out the three left the area. The summit ridge also stopped a three-man Basque team from Pamplona, consisting of Iñaki Araiz, Iker Garcia, and Iñaki Garreta, who made the second ascent of the other French route put up in 2000, Macanacota (F7b A2, Avrisani-Faure-Pouraz), a climb that meets Pasta Religion at the top of its 12th pitch. The Basque team, climbing in capsule style, fixed the initial 250m and then climbed the route with two nights on the wall. Although the rock is very good, they did not find perfect cracks, just discontinuous lines and many pockets. Nevertheless, the terrain was well suited to natural gear. The three completed 14 pitches to reach the top of the First Tower, then climbed a little over one-third of the steep and difficult snow/mixed arête that leads to the top of the Second Tower (and toward the summit), before retreating. They note that the left edge of the Second Tower would be considerably easier but is impossible to reach from the top of the First Tower. The Basques found the quality of climbing good, the route always sunny, and report one bolt at each belay. They also believe that the hard rock up to the top of the First Tower could be climbed without a bivouac, if parties were to leave ice gear behind and travel light.

To the left a third party, Peruvians Diego Fernandez and Guillermo Mejía, made an attempt on the 1984 Italian Route (Antonietti-Bianchi-Mondinelli-Mora), climbing more than halfway up the face on July 29, at 5.10a. However, they were forced down by bad weather.

Lindsay Griffin, High Mountain INFO