Nevado Parcocaya, North Ridge

Peru, Cordillera Vilcanota
Author: Simon Schonemann-Poppeliers. Climb Year: 2018. Publication Year: 2019.

In August, my expedition partner Duncan McDaniel (USA) and I attempted four different routes up four different mountains in southern Peru, and succeeded on one. The first two were in the Cordillera Urubamba and the second two in the Cordillera Vilcanota. On the first three climbs we were accompanied by Vahitiare Beltrami Saavedra, Yasu Beltrami Saavedra, and Felipe Mera (Chile).

Our first objective was Sirihuani (5,359m; also spelled Sirijuani and Siriwani), located northeast of Nevado Chicón (5,520m) and just west of Nevado Sahuasiray (5,818m). It’s not a large peak for the area, but the rocky and sheer south face protruding from the glacier is unclimbed. We started in Urubamba, and with local arrangements by Jorge “Coqui” Galvez we were able to access the peak from the town of Cancha Cancha. Unfortunately, our attempt on the south face ended low on the left side, about 300m below the summit, due to wet and icy rock from recent snow.

We next went to Nevado Veronica (5,893m) via the bus route to Quillabamba. Again, conditions were less than ideal, with our base camp blanketed in a foot or so of snow. After triggering a crack in a snow slab, we retreated from our attempt on the standard route up the north ridge.

Following this, we moved onto the Cordillera Vilcanota, first staying in the town of Pacchanta. Our attempt to climb Tinki (5,450 m) by the standard route on the east ridge was met by failure, with a whiteout forcing our retreat.

Finally, Duncan and I attempted Nevado Parcocaya (5,290m), located northeast of Ausangate. The peak appears to have been climbed by its north side, and it was recently climbed by the south face from the glacier. (There are two recorded ascents; see AAJ 1981 and 2017.) We focused on an intriguing rock ridge rising from the north side. About 400m of simul-climbing on this ridge brought us to the summit ridge, and a short walk across some snow and then up more rock led us to the summit. We enjoyed the view of Ausangate’s dramatic north face and then scrambled down the east side to a saddle. From here, we downclimbed to reach the valley on the north side; no rappels were needed. The ridge involved mostly 5.6 climbing with a few moves of 5.8, and we left occasional cairns on the ascent and descent routes.

– Simon Schonemann-Poppeliers, USA

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