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South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, La Esfinge, Salida desde la Oscuridad, and Waiting for Jurek

La Esfinge, Salida desde la Oscuridad, and Waiting for Jurek. The Polish team of Arkadiusz Grzadziel, Boguslaw Kowalski, and Jerzy Stefanski climbed a new route on the south face of La Esfinge. Their painful acclimatization included climbing up the normal rappel route that descends from the col/saddle. Three steep pitches were presumably new; they named their variation Waiting for Jurek (270m, 6 pitches, UIAA V+). They climbed directly toward the ledge midway up, although they didn’t use the ledge while climbing; this ledge is where descending climbers traverse off to easy ground. Grzadziel and Kowalski made this ascent on June 22. The three also onsighted the Original Route on the east face (700m, 7a). During these climbs, they saw no place for a logical new route on the famous east face, so they attacked the shaded, rotten, and icy south face.

After fixing 170m of rope on June 29, 30, and July 1, they started climbing on July 3 at 7 a.m., climbed until 10 p.m., and had a cold bivy without sleeping bags. They completed the route the next day, reaching the top at 5 p.m. The route tackles a logical line on the left side of thewall, 100m left of The Furious Gods (Beaulieu-Légaré, 2003), and offers free-climbing with difficulties around French 6b+ and A2+. The route is 680m long (16 pitches); they did no drilling but left fixed pitons. The rock is rarely good. Actually it is mostly very rotten; cracks are sometimes full of earth and big, loose stones are waiting to sweep climbers off the wall or at least cut the rope. “You have to be very committed to start such a wall,” the team declared, but they don’t regret it. The routes name is Salida desde la Oscuridad, because the most important moment was when they made their Exit from the Shadow [the route name in English] into the sun again.

Jakub Radziejowski, Warsaw, Poland