American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru—Cordillera Blanca, Cordillera Yarumaria and Artesonraju and Alpamayo

  • Climbs And Expeditions
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  • Publication Year: 1967

Cordillera Yarumaria and Artesonraju and Alpamayo, Cordillera Blanca. The Andean expedition of the Aibling Section of the German Alpine Club consisted of Peter Gessner, Helmut Schmidt, Michl Steinbeis, my wife Johanna and me as leader. We left Munich on June 3 and returned on August 19. From June 8 to 29 we climbed 14 peaks between 17,500 and 18,800 feet in the Cordillera Yarumaria in central Peru, some 60 miles east of Lima, 13 first ascents and one by a new route. This range had been visited before only by German-Peruvian Degenhart Briegleb in 1927. We approached Base Camp at Huachuacocha (15,100 feet) from Yuracmayo. We made the following first ascents: Cerro del Medio (17,586 feet) by Gessner, A. Koch, Steinbeis on June 11; Nevado Nauhin (18,537 feet) by Gessner, A. and J. Koch, Steinbeis and Nauhin NW (18,307 feet) by Gessner, A. Koch, Steinbeis on June 15; Juanita (18,078 feet) and Cerro di Ricci (17,717 feet) by Gessner, A. and J. Koch, Steinbeis and Shicra Oeste (17,602 feet) on June 16; above the Yarumaria Glacier: Nevado del Medio ( 17,914 feet) by Gessner, A. Koch, Schmidt, Steinbeis on June 19; Pacca Sur (18,504 feet) by all and Pacca Norte (18,439 feet) by A. Koch, Schmidt on June 22; a traverse of Yarumaria II (18,373 feet), III (18,537 feet), IV ( 18,537 feet), Colquipucro (18,767 feet) by Gessner, A. Koch, Schmidt, Steinbeis on June 23. On the 24th we all made the second ascent of Yarumaria I ( 18,307 feet) by the west ridge. We established our camp in the Quebrada Parón of the Cordillera Blanca on July 6 at 16,400 feet on the left of the Parón Glacier. On the 7th we reconnoitered the ice slope and beginning of the southeast ridge of Artesonraju, where we found an ice screw left by the unsuccessful Harvard party (A.A.J., 1965, 14:2, pp. 443-4). On July 8 we four men climbed the southeast ridge to the summit of Artesonraju ( 19,766 feet). The approach was first up the ice slope and then along the horizontal ridge on the northern side of the crest as high as possible between the perpendicular north rock face and the very compact, icy cornice, about five rope-lengths of considerable difficulty. The last part of the horizontal ridge leads to a notch and is very easy. The summit pyramid rises some 1500 feet from the notch at an average of 45°. The lower half is like a steep slope but the upper half is a sharp snow ridge which divides the snowy south face from the rock-streaked north face. The snow on this ridge was treacherous and prevented good belays. The 3600-foot climb from camp took 15 hours. This new route was the third ascent. We had our high camp at 18,000 feet at the foot of the north ridge of Alpamayo on July 19. On the 20th we divided. Steinbeis and Gessner made the first ascent of the west ridge. They climbed 650 feet south from the foot of the north ridge into the northwest face, and traversed diagonally upwards to reach the west ridge 800 feet below the summit and 1150 feet above the striking rock tower where the west ridge merges into the séracs of the western glacier. To there and for another 200 feet beyond the route had averaged 45° and was easy. The last 600 feet of the ridge were a confusion of cornices, which forced the climbers onto now the north and then the south side. One rope-length in the northwest face was extremely difficult. The great cornice of the north summit was circumvented by a traverse left onto the north ridge. For some 30 feet the angle was 65° to 70°. Meanwhile my wife Johanna, Schmidt and I climbed the north ridge to the junction of the north and west ridges. All five climbed together along the short, quite easy ridge to the. highest southern summit (19,525 feet). This was the fourth ascent of the mountain. Gessner and I were halted by a huge crevasse that spread across the whole Garganta at 18,500 feet in our attempt to climb Huascarán

Alfred Koch, Deutscher Alpenverein

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