American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Oje Punta, West Couloir Direct

Peru, Cordillera Vilcanota

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Derek Field
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2019

On July 9, 2017, I climbed a probable new route on the west aspect of Oje Punta (5,386m), also known as Lliani, in the eastern Cordillera Vilcanota.

I left the Ausangate base camp at 5:30 a.m., carrying a pair of rock climbing shoes and a small daypack, and jogged down the valley to the tiny settlement of Huchuy Finaya (4,500m). Crossing to the east side of the Pitumarca drainage, I gained the nearest ridge to the south; I scrambled along this rocky crest for half an hour and then descended 50m to the east to reach the peak’s southwest cirque (ca 5,100m).

My scramble up the central couloir ascended scree and glacier-polished slabs, with the uppermost 100m presenting steeper rock. At the knife-edge summit ridge, I moved northward, passing many precarious gendarmes. I downclimbed my route and made it back to Huchuy Finaya just before noon, in time for my ride.

I call my route the West Couloir Direct (250m, PD 5.4). Despite its proximity to the Ausangate trekking circuit, climbing activity on this peak has not been well documented since its first known ascent (AAJ 1981). Although guide agencies have taken groups up the gentler north side (see link), it is unlikely that the rugged west aspect has seen many ascents, if any.

– Derek Field, Canada

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