American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Cerro Soray, southeast ridge, north face; Nevado Tucarhuay, disambiguation

Peru, Cordillera Vilcabamba

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year: 2012
  • Publication Year: 2014

In September 2012, Luis Crispínand I decided to explore a peak labeled Cerro Soray (5,428m) on the Peruvian IGN 2344 map, four kilometers west of Soray Pampa, hoping to find a climb similar to that of Vallunaraju in the Cordillera Blanca.

On September 7 we reached a camp beneath the southeast face of the peak (ca 4,813m). We found puma footprints in the soft dirt around the campsite, and a deer trail went up to the col between Cerro Soray and a rock peak marked as Cerro Yanajaja (5,093m). On the other side of the col there was a steep face of broken rock.

We left the tent at 3 a.m. to start our climb up the southeast ridge. We walked un-roped, stepping over a few minor crevasses on the way up. Higher up, the southeast ridge converges with another ridge rising from the south. From this juncture, the rest of the ridge appeared difficult and dangerous. I looked at Luis to see what he was thinking; he basically said, “I’m ready when you are.”

We roped up and simul-climbed the ridge; however, we had not brought any rock protection, believing it would be easier, and did the best we could using only slings. There were spots of ice, so we kept our crampons on. The last bit involved an exposed hand traverse along the ridge, capped by a short and loose crux to the summit. We reached the top around 9:30 a.m. (my GPS read 5,446m), and then downclimbed the route to our camp (200m, D).

On October 23, 2012, Edwin Espinoza Sotelo and I climbed the north side of the peak after finding the south side much too hard for any novice climber. We discovered a route up the north face and ridge the next day. The route is quite easy but does require some good routefinding (F/PD). Since then, we have brought many people up this route, an enjoyable climb for every skill level.

[Editor’s note: It should be noted that Cerro Soray is an easier, shorter, and separate peak from the nearby, taller, and more difficult Tucarhuay (also called Tucarway and Humantay), which has been called Soray by some past expeditions. Nevado Tucarhuay (5,910m) was first climbed via the north face by Lionel Terray and party (AAJ 1957), then via the south ridge by a Japanese team (AAJ 1969). It’s also probable that Piero Ghiglione and party reached the subsidiary east summit (5,700m) of Nevado Tucarhuay via the north face and ridge (AAJ 1954). Nathan Heald and Edwin Espinoza Sotelo repeated this route to the east summit in September 2013, verifying the rough summit elevation by GPS. Additionally, a Japanese Alpine Club party attempted the unclimbed west face of Nevado Tucarhuay in 1980; however, they only reached a highpoint of 5,100m. That face remains unclimbed. The peaks north of Nevado Tucarhuay and west of Nevado Salcantay, called “Nevados Humantay” on the Peruvian IGN map, are possibly unclimbed and appear to be very technical.]    

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