South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Oschapalca, New Route and Various Activity

Publication Year: 2005.

Oschapalca, new route and various activity. After acclimatizing by guiding the Normal Route (PD) on Pisco (5,752m), the North Ridge (AD-) of Vallunaraju (5,686m), and the Normal Route (PD+/AD-) to the north summit (6,664m) of Huascarán, Chilean climber Andrés Zegers teamed up with German partner David Bruder to make the first ascent of the Northwest Face (TD) of Oschapalca (5,881m). The new line follows an ice runnel and involves 10 pitches of ice up to 65° and three mixed sections. The crux was the last, vertical, soft-snow wall, which they negotiated by digging through a cornice. The route was established alpine-style in an 11-hour round trip from moraine camp at about 4,800 meters.

Andrés and David then established a new speed record for the east face of La Esfinge (5,327m), climbing the 1985 Normal Route (750m) all free and onsight in 3:57. The previous record for the route had been a few minutes under seven hours. Although the route was originally rated 5.11+, Andrés felt the grade rather easy by Yosemite standards and suggests 5.10+. The ascents of Oschapalca, La Esfinge and Huascarán were made in one week in late July.

The team still had energy to go for a speed ascent of El Escudo (D+), a direct route to the South Summit (6,768m) of Huascarán. They started from the village of Musho (3,050m) and went for the summit in a long, super-fast single push that lasted for 14:30, during which they climbed more than 3,600 meters of ice and hard snow up to 60°. The round trip time from Musho was 23:57 (they lost a couple of hours searching for a spot to pass the rimaye on the descent), which makes this the first one-day ascent of El Escudo.

Reported by Andrés Zegers to Jose Ignacio Morales for Escalando Reprinted from Alpinist magazine,