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South America, Peru, Cordillera Central, Yanashinga, West Face

Yanashinga, West Face. One could consider Yanashinga (5,250m) the most technical and dizzying mountain of the Tíclio group. It is located 135km east of Lima and has only two routes and not a single repeat. The central highway reaches 4,818m, and through here runs the highest railroad in the world. The West Face (350m, MD 5.10a) had been attempted before but without success. I had tried it, too, once arriving just 50m from the summit. Guillermo Mejía and I began the route once together, and together we wanted to complete it.

We camped at the foot of the glacier that comes off Nevado Santa Rosa. We began the climb early on December 19, via an ice ramp to the first belay station. The first three pitches involved rock, with moves up to 5.9. On the fourth pitch Guillermo found himself stopped on vertical rock, struggling to place protection. He had climbed an easy dihedral, but the exit was more difficult, and he hadn’t placed a piece since the belay. Desperately he began cleaning in order to place something. The rock was bad, with big flakes one on top of another, and one of these flakes launched and fell close to me, breaking on the backpack and causing almost everything inside to fall out. The last two pitches were on horrible rock, without many options for protection, and loose rock fragments covered in snow and ice. On the summit, Guillermo could not properly anchor, so he belayed from inside a depression. We arrived on top around 6 p.m. We descended the east face, which left us a roundabout detour around the mountain to arrive back at camp.

Richard Hidalgo, Peru (translated by Molly Loomis)