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South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Parón, Bartonellosis to Summit Mushroom

Parón, Bartonellosis to summit mushroom. Owen Samuel, Mike Pescod, Tony Barton, and I set off up the Santa Cruz Valley on June 2, two days after arriving in Peru. We set up a camp at 4,700m on the moraine ridge below the northeast face of Artesonraju, in the Quebrada Arteson. After checking out both the unclimbed northwest face of Millishraju (5,500m) and the north face of Parón we decided on the latter because the former was a very complex, seracked face. We watched Parón for two days and saw two potential “ice” lines melt in the summer sun. We decided that our line would last, but it needed a night ascent to minimize falling rock and ice.

On June 5 at 9 p.m. we set off for the base of the route, marked by a chimney angling up and left. (Tony was not acclimatizing well, so it was just three of us.) The glacier was easy to cross, and we started up the first chimney pitch (Samuel’s Cleft) before midnight. We found excellent ice, of about grade IV/V Scottish, with occasional loose rock steps. Above the chimney easier-angled snow slopes traversed back right, then a rocky groove led into another left-slanting ice chimney. Daybreak brought us to the final funnel directly under the summit. We completed the 10-pitch ascent at 10:30 a.m., just below the final summit snow mushroom, which we did not attempt due to the conditions. We abseiled the west face to the Parón Glacier, traversed through interesting seracked terrain, and ascended back to the Artesonraju col and an easy descent to camp, where we arrived 20 hours after leaving. We named the 400m, TD+ route after a disease which is transmitted by a sand fly common high in the Peruvian Andes. We were paranoid that its bites might be infecting us. Tony Barton was the impetus behind us being in this valley climbing this route. He has spent several summers in Peru, checking out potential new routes.

Nick Carter, United Kingdom