American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru—Cordilleras Huayhuash and Raura, Trapecio, Southwest Spur

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1975

Trapecio, Southwest Spur, Cordillera Huayhuash. From the start I did not feel the easy euphoria of my previous Andean expeditions, possibly because I sensed the sacrifices and effort we should have to sustain, fighting wind and snow to get to the 18,583-foot summit of Trapecio by its southwest spur. This divides the enormous west face above Juraucocha from the south face. We were Eugenio and Mario Ferrero, Renato Lingua, Piero Malvassora and I. We drove to the roadhead at Cajatambo (10,450 feet). On June 17 we crossed the Maraneog pass (13,780 feet). We descended the Quebrada Pumarinri and ascended the Quebrada Hauyllapa to pitch Base Camp the next day at 13,450 feet near Juraucocha. By June 23 Camp I was established at 16,450 feet. Our group of five was then reduced to three. Lingua had to leave because of a sudden indisposition and Mario Ferrero, who had not been able to acclimatize, accompanied him. For nine days we three worked on the route, taking two days to gain 135 feet. We fixed hundreds of feet of rope but the summit was still far distant. Intense cold, storms and wind were with us every day. There was no chance to pitch a camp on the 2100-foot-high spur. The knife-edged ridge and steep or overhanging slopes, never less than 60°, were our daily fare. By common accord on July 3 we descended to Base Camp. On the 5th at two P.M. we were back in Camp I. We spent the afternoon preparing our gear for the still untouched top 650 feet. At four A.M. on July 6 we left camp and plowed knee-deep to the first of three fixed ropes that led to a little saddle. Above that the real difficulties began. We jümared up fixed ropes on ice slopes of at least 60° interspersed with vertical walls, always on unstable ice and snow. Then came the notorious 250-foot half-moon, which ended above a notch. We descended vertically into the notch and reached the opposite side on a terribly thin corniced ridge. Still on fixed ropes, we descended onto the northwest side of the ridge when we could not follow the crest. We dropped vertically some 40 feet and traversed to a very steep couloir which ended 150 feet higher, blocked by a hanging sérac. This was the crux of the climb, which Ferrero had brilliantly prepared in the preceding days. The route had not been fixed higher. We proceeded in cruel weather up to a triangle of overhanging ice. We made a delicate traverse to the left under this, fixing rope, to a very steep couloir, climbed this and then less steep slopes towards the summit. In frigid weather we continued to 150 feet from the summit where a couloir started up at 70° and ended in 50°. We reached the summit at 3:30 P.M. We descended the fixed ropes to get back to Camp I at nine P.M.

Giuseppe Dionisi, Club Alpino Italiano

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