South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Chaupi Huanca, Qui Io Vado Ancora (to Junction with Caravaca Jubilar)
Chaupi Huanca, Qui Io Vado Ancora (to junction with Caravaca Jubilar). Italian Ragni di Lecco climbers Simone Pedeferri (leader, age 34), Andrea Pavan (26), and I (41) explored the granite walls of Peru’s Quebrada Rurec, where on July 12 we made the first ascent of Qui Io Vado Ancora (7c max, 7a oblig with two pitches of A1), on Chaupi Huanca [a.k.a. Punta Numa, but the native (Quechua) name is correct and preferred. Also see note on naming, AAJ 2006, p. 241]. We named the route for the song “Here I Go Again” (Whitesnake, 1987), because it explains well why we are so alone chasing our passions. Thanks to David Coverdale, the singer, and Adrian Vandenberg, solo guitar, for that song! We love free-climbing, and free-climbing at high altitude is for us a dream.
We arrived in the Rurec Valley on July 1 and left on the 12th. The valley is 12km of easy, lovely walking from the village of Olleros, which is 30 minutes from Huaraz. The route starts 20 minutes from the bottom of the valley, at 4,050m.
The route is 15 pitches long (540m), starting 50m right of the Spanish route, Caravaca Jubilar (5.11 A4). We freed all the pitches except the 10th (because it’s dirty; with a day of cleaning it could became maximum 6c) and the 14th (too cold that day, but it could be a fantastic 7c). We suggest one set of Friends, from the small yellow, and doubles in sizes 1,2, 3. The Friends are mainly useful/necessary from pitch 10 onward. Some micronuts could be used on the slab pitches. Ratings of the 15 pitches are V, V+, 6b, 7a, 7a+, 7a, 6b+, 7b, 7a+, 6b A1, 6c, V, 6c+, 7a A1, 7a. The last pitch ends, at 4,600m, with a fantastic crack that needs Friends #4 and #5 (minimum #3).
The route is mainly slab climbing, often with distant protection. Pitches 4, 5, and 6 are exposed; there are bolts, but falling is not an option! Runouts are as long as 12m, with 6c/7a mandatory, compounded by the facts that before 11 a.m it’s too cold and dark arrives at 6 p.m. However, belays are easily established, so it’s not a problem to stop and come down during the evening. It would be a worthy goal to try to on-sight the route in a day and to free the 14th pitch—surely possible for a strong team. The climbing is not physical but often very technical.
We finished the route in seven days, in stable weather, with only three days of cold wind and one day of snow. Some pitches are really nice; maybe the best are the last three. From the exit it is possible to try to reach the top of Chaupi Huanca by Caravaca Jubilar, maybe freeing its dihedral, but we didn’t have enough time. There are other possibilities, though not easy, and the granite has few cracks.
Our route represents part of the “Liberi in Libera” project, a sort of exploratory journey to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Ragni di Lecco association.
Fabio Palma, Ragni di Lecco, Italy