Davide Cassol and I left Italy on May 26 to travel to the eastern part of the Cordillera Huayhuash and attempt new routes. Once in Huaraz, we purchased food for a month and then enlisted nine mules and two horses to transport nearly 300kg of gear to a base camp at Sarapococha, below Lake Jurau (ca 4,300m). We were joined by super-cook Pio Polo (Peru). After a three-day trek, on June 1 we reached base camp, which we shared with Tito Arosio, Saro Costa, and Luca Vallata, and where we would stay until June 22.
The next few weeks were comprised of amazingly intense days where toil and adventure held sway. During our initial acclimatization we explored the area and made an ascent of Cerro Gran Vista (5,152m), located just west of Sarapococha.
On June 5 we set our sights on the unclimbed northwest face of Jurauraju (5,335m), located southeast of Jurau Lake, below the Jurau Glacier. The mountain contains beautiful, gray, high-quality limestone. Our route Laurapaq (800m, UIAA V+) climbs just right of a prominent arête and gully feature. It is entirely on rock and quite moderate.
On June 9 we traveled east from camp onto the Jurau Glacier to attempt the west face of Jurau (5,674m, a.k.a. Jurau D), a pointy summit located between Carnicero (5,960m) and Huaraca (5,537m). Our new route La Siesta del Bodacious (600m, WI4+ M4) climbs mostly snow and ice up a direct line just left of the summit pyramid. Upon reaching the top of the wall and the north ridge we continued around to the east side of the peak and up its east ridge route (AAJ 1967). We stopped 80m below the true summit due to huge, dangerous-looking cornices. This proved to be a wise move, as the following day we saw a cornice collapse on the ridge, causing a large avalanche 200m left of our new route. To descend, we rappelled our route using V-threads and a couple pieces of rock protection.[Editor’s note: Jurau was first ascended in 1961 by its north ridge (AAJ 1962) and then again in 1966 by its east ridge. Only one other route has been reported on the western side of Jurau: the west face (500m, TD– 60-90°, Barker-Preston, AAJ 1989), a difficult route that may climb a weakness up the southern (right) end of the west face.]
Following this climb we had five days of bad weather. Our next goal was a new route on the south face of Yerupaja Sur (6,515m), but we found prohibitive snow conditions, with powder snow up to 90°. Davide took three falls held by a snow picket before we turned around.
On June 20 we headed back to the northwest face of Jurauraju and climbed another route, which we called La Zuppa di Pio (650m, UIAA IV+), dedicated to our travel companion and chef, Pio. Again, this face provided a climb on excellent rock with moderate difficulty, and plenty of opportunity for lucid dreaming.
Carlo Cosi, Italy