American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Huamashraju, Various Routes

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

Huamashraju, various routes. Huamashraju (a.k.a. Wamashraju 5,434m) is located southeast of Huaraz, just above the village of Janku. On its west face there is a vertical 200m wall, the base of which is at around 5,000m. The wall reaches a summit ridge that is 4th class rock and snow. While the peak's ridges and snow routes have seen climbers for several decades, rock climbing on the steep west face has not been documented until recently. The first reported climb of the face was by Ken Sims and Maura Hanning in 1998. The pair climbed two routes, the MK Route (III 5.9) and the Sims-Hanning Route (IV 5.9+). The Sims-Hanning takes a line up the middle of the wall. The MK Route is farther left, taking the obvious line just left of the large roof system that is left of the Sims-Hanning Route. It is right of the Sims-Jackson Route (described below). Sims reports that the Sims- Hanning is the best route, with long, clean cracks and a short offwidth midway up. After reaching the top of the west face, Sims and Hanning climbed to the summit along the face’s northern skyline ridge. They then descended this ridge until about half-way down, at which point they rappelled into the gully on the back side of the face. They followed the gully to an obvious notch in the north ridge; the notch led around to the bottom of the west face. They do not recommended this gully, as it is steep and loose, with lots of rock fall potential; Sims has subsequently been descending by the north ridge.

In 2000 Sims returned to Huamashraju with Dennis Jackson. They climbed two routes on the left side of the wall (Thai Express, farthest left, and the Sims-Jackson), both being 5.7- 5.9 and finishing at the obvious notch left of the MK Route. On the former they were accompanied by Naresuan Butthuam, the owner of a Thai restaurant in Huaraz. Sims and Jackson also completed several climbs on the shorter walls on the left side of the cirque seen during the approach to the west face. These one- and two-pitch climbs, on a rock feature that resembles a ship’s prow, include a superb 5.9+ finger-to-hand crack up the prominent arête.

In June 2004 Brian Sohn and Chris Barlow climbed a line up the middle of the wall, closely following the Sims-Hanning Route but moving left on a sloping ledge, below the short, steep dihedral that leads to the obvious offwidth of the Sims-Hanning Route. They took a slightly easier pitch to a lower point on the summit ridge (Sohn-Barlow Variation). Sohn and Barlow also climbed the north ridge to the summit. They then descended directly down the middle of the west face, rappelling most of face in the dark and leaving much of their rack. Sohn and Barlow subsequently reclimbed the wall and established a rappel route down the west face. This rappel route is to the south of the Sims-Hanning Route, beginning at the wall’s highest point (bolt and sling anchor), and involves four double-rope rappels down corners. Some traversing on ledges is required to reach anchors. (The rappel-route topo is available at Zarela’s hostel in Huaraz).

Ken Sims and Chris Barlow, AAC

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