American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Other Information

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

Cordillera Blanca, other information. New route activity was below normal in 2004, presumably because of atypical unsettled weather and conditions. The following information supplements the new routes individually reported above.

On the south face of Chacraraju Este (6,001m) Nick Bullock (U.K.) and Adam Kovacs (Sweden) established a new finish to the Jaeger Route. They climbed most of the route unroped, belaying only their three-pitch variation, which continues straight up to the ridge (but without reaching the summit) where the Jaeger route traverses right. This variation parallels the 1984 Peruvian-Spanish line, exiting to the next point right on the summit ridge The three difficult and poorly-protected (especially considering their anemic rack) pitches rated Scottish VI,7; VI,6; V,5—the first two mixed and the third on poor ice and snow. The pair descended their line, reaching camp 20 hours after starting.

The ever-popular rock walls of La Esfinge (5,325m) saw numerous ascents, mostly of the Original Route (Bohórquez-García, 1985). There was, however, one new route and variation (see report, above). Also, Welcome to the Slabs of Koricancha (V 5.13b, Beranek-Linek- Staruch, 2003), surely the hardest free climb on Esfinge, received its second ascent. Americans Steve Schneider, Heather Baer, and 14 year-old (no, not a typo) Scott Cory climbed the route in two days in August, with Schneider leading (and on-sighting) all but one pitch—Cory led (redpoint) the 5.12a eighth pitch, and followed all but one (5.12a pitch seven) of the others clean.

In the Ishinca Valley, in addition to the climbers on Hatun Ulloc (see report above), a French team is rumored to have been active nearby. A Basque team was active as well, but details of their rotues are not available. There were also rumors of two climbers establishing a possible new route on the northeast face of Huandoy Sur, but again details could not be obtained. Given the spectrum of climbers visiting the Cordillera Blanca, from a variety of countries and speaking many languages, complete new-route information proves difficult to obtain. Climbers assuming they’ve climbed a new route should research their route’s history as thoroughly as possible.

Information regarding the correct naming and history of popular routes on the southwest face of Alpamayo (5,947m), based on original-account research, has been provided by noted Cordillera Blanca researcher and historian Antonio Gómez Bohórquez (author of the authoritative 2003 book Cordillera Blanca, Escaladas, Parte Norte ISBN 84-607-7937-8).

What is often called the Ferrari Route is actually the Central Couloir (Canal Central); the first recorded ascent was made in 1983 by R. Renaud, his client Susana, J. Gálvez, and Bohórquez. It’s possible that this route was actually First climbed in 1979 by R. Rield and R. Pöltner. Regardless, the true Ferrari Route is two couloirs right of the Central Couloir and is more difficult, longer, and changed significantly in 1995 after a massive collapse of the lower portion. It follows the couloir almost directly below the summit, beginning from the low point of the bergschrund, and is what has been called the French Couloir or French Direct (based on Nicolas Jaeger’s 1977 second ascent; Frenchmen Beriol and Lay were killed there by serac fall in 1980) and erroneously believed to be different from the Ferrari Route. Credit for the first ascent has been attributed to North Americans W.A. Barker and S. Connolly, but actually belongs to C. Ferrari, R Negri, A. Zioa, D. Borgonovo, P. Castelnovo, and S. Liati, in 1975.

Two fatalities in the Blanca in 2004 were reported. Matej Mosnik died after a 30m crevasse fall on Copa Norte on July 14. Peruvian guide Eder Sabino Cacha was killed in an avalanche while skiing the lower portion of Tocllaraju’s normal, western slope, route on June 10. Compiled primarily with information from Antonio Gómez Bohórquez and Richard Hidalgo

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