Vallunaraju, El Gran Mono
South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca
Peruvian climbers Beto Pinto, Rolando Morales, and Steven Fuentes left Huaraz at midday on July 8. After a two- hour drive to Llaca Valley at 4,300m, they walked toward Vallunaraju’s (5,600m) south face. One-and-a-half hours in, they found a small cave under a boulder where they bivouaced. The next morning they set off for the glacier at 2 a.m. The initial ascent included 50-60° sections and was challenging due to an abundance of loose snow. After three hours they reached the wall where they found a difficult section of rock with hard ice in the cracks, which took six hours for two pitches. The first pitch was aid (A2) and the second was rock climbing at 6a, with lots of loose snow that they had to clean in order to place protection. The situation worsened as the clouds descended upon them, reducing visibility, and it began snowing heavily. They then climbed a series of 80° and 90° pitches. Finally, after 17 hours of climbing, at 7 p.m. they reached the summit and then rappelled the normal route on the west face. El Gran Mono (300m, 70-90° 6a A2).