At the end of October, Jark Barker and Emil Tjonneland, two spritely 18-year-olds from Maryland, and I left Soray Pampa, along the popular Salcantay trek to Machu Picchu, with a couple of horses carrying our packs, aiming for Nevado Humantay South (5,459m, Peruvian IGN map 2344). The Nevados Humantay are on the ridge extending west and north from Nevado Salcantay (6,264m); I led a group that made the first ascent of the north peak of Humantay in July 2014 (AAJ 2015). Taking our packs from the horses, the three of us hiked up steeper terrain to a camp perched on a rock tower at about 4,900m, below the south face.
Leaving camp at 2 a.m. on October 31, we climbed the south face, crossed over the southeast ridge at its top, and finished on the east face, reaching the summit at 9:30 a.m. (500m, AD). Emil’s watch altimeter read 5,455m. We rappelled the northeast face (opposite where we started), making the final rappel with one core-shot rope just after dark. We set the tent among the moraine and fell asleep at about 9 p.m. Over the next couple of days we descended the Ahobamba Valley to escape the mountains.
– Nathan Heald, Peru