American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordillera Huayhuash, Yerupajá Sur, South Face, Rondoy, West Face, Rasac and Ancocancha

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1978

Yerupajá Sur, South Face; Rondoy, West Face; Rasac and Anco-cancha. Rab Carrington and I left Chiquián in late May for Base Camp at Jahuakocha. After several days of acclimatizing, we walked up the Quebrada Huacrish and bivouacked below Ancocancha Norte (18,528 feet). On June 3 we climbed this by the arête that drops to the Quebrada Huacrish on the north-northwest side. Our prominent rib lies well left of the line of the Argentines in 1964. On June 7 we approached the unclimbed south face of Rasac (19,817 feet) via Rasackocha and the next day started up a central line. The first day gave us eight pitches of very technical difficult climbing. We bivouacked a third of the way up the face. The second day was easier ice and snow climbing with a few difficult pitches at the end, when the snow turned to very loose powder. That night the weather turned bad with snow showers and spindrift. The third day, after four or five pitches, we reached the top and descended onto the Yerupajâ Glacier and so back to Base Camp. After a brief rest, we turned to the west face of Rondoy. Having seen two massive avalanches cascade down the main part of the face, we decided that the safest line of ascent would be the west ridge, which bounds the left side of the face. On June 15 we headed for the col between Cerro México and Rondoy, which we reached after four hours. The next day, in doubtful weather, we climbed the buttress leading onto the west ridge and bivouacked in a bergschrund at the foot of the ridge. In the morning we discovered that snow mushrooms made the ridge nearly impossible but that we could climb just to the left of the ridge. That evening we continued in falling snow and managed to find a slot in the ice in which to take shelter. The slot was just under the cornices which guard the exit to the col joining the north and south peaks. On the 18th we climbed out onto the col. Knowing the extreme difficulty of the descent, we climbed only the north peak (19,095 feet), the lower of the two. Then ensued a five-hour traverse of the corniced, be-mushroomed ridge which, to say the least, was unstable. We eventually descended the east face, climbing down the 1963 English ascent route. On June 30 we once again left Base Camp and headed up Rasackocha, crossed Col 5129 and dropped to Seriakocha, where we spent the night. The next day, a short one, we crossed Col 5004 to Sarapokocha and headed north to bivouac below our next objective, the 4250-foot unclimbed south face of Yerupajá. On July 2 we set off at four A.M., crossed the glacier and reached the foot of the face at dawn. We followed a line directly up the centre of the face, reaching and bivouacking in the rock band that night. The following day we continued through the rocky section before finally being forced to exit onto the southeast ridge which we followed to the summit of Yerupajá Sur (21,375 feet). After bivouacking just under the summit, we started our descent in practically nil visibility, reversing the normal route on the west face.

Alan Rouse, Alpine Climbing GroupSSS

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