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South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Taulliraju, El Centelleo

Taulliraju, El Centelleo. Riding a bike for three days from Carhuaz (2,650m) to Punta Olimpica/ Pasaje de Ulta (4,890m) sounded like a fast, simple method of acclimatization. Two hours after Matej Flis, Tadej Golob, and I departed, though, I realized once more there are no shortcuts in alpinism.

Our objective was an alpine-style ascent up the unclimbed center of Taulliraju’s south face. Aware of the difficulties before us, we brought all kinds of gear, but by daybreak on the first pitch, it was clear that we wouldn’t be able to make our way over the powder-covered granite.

Thus we pared down our equipment for the GMHM Route (400m, TD+ WI4+ M4, Gleizes-Gryska-Prom, 1988), which we hoped to use to access the start of the east face, where we would attempt a new line. The GMHM Route surprised us with a variety of conditions. At nightfall we bivied on a comfortable shelf on the top of the buttress. The following day we continued along the Guides’ Route (800m, TD+, Balmat-Fabre-Monaci-Thivierge, 1978) to the east face [Cordillera Blanca scholar and AAJ correspondent Antonio Gómez Bohórquez notes that this portion of the route is erroneously attributed to the 1978 Chamonix guides. Credit belongs to the 1976 Japanese team of Mizobuchi-Nagashino-Yoda.] half a pitch to the right of the Monasterio-Richey 2002 attempt (as we found out later). I started up the first two pitches wearing crampons, but after two falls, I changed to climbing shoes. The granite was first class, only briefly blemished by some huge, loose flakes. On the last pitch, powder again covered the rock, and it was nearly impossible to set belays.

The sun had already set behind Alpamayo as we stood on the summit (5,830m) on May 29, having completed El Centelleo (700m, VI 6b M6+). A glance down the Guides’ Route wasn’t promising, so we instead rappeled the east face, which appeared mushroom-free. At the end of the first rappel, I practically fell into an ice cave; it proved to be the best shelter we could find.

After we spent an uncomfortable night, the next rappel led to an established anchor. The following rappels were made in a similar manner to the base of the mountain. Looking over the photos back in base camp, we found we’d descended the Monasterio-Richey attempt.

Grega Lacen, Slovenia (reprinted/adapted from Alpinist, issue #18, www.alpinist.com)

Huandoy Sur, correction. The route on the northeast face, climbed by Canadians A. Sole and G. Spohr, in June 1979, repeated by Spaniards M. Ábrego, J. Muru, and G. Plaza, in May 1980, and by Slovene P. Kozjek in August 1995 (AAJ 2003, p. 306, AAJ 2002 p. 300, and AAJ 1996, pp. 215-216), was climbed in 1978 by the French expedition of F. Tomas, D. Julien, R. Mizrahi, R. Müsnch, G. Vionnet-Fuasset, and H. Lüdi.

Antonio Gómez Bohórquez (a.k.a. Sevi Bohórquez), Andesinfo, Spain