American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Huandoy Sur, Desmaison Route, Second Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

Huandoy Sur, Desmaison Route, Second Ascent. We went to Peru between June and August, 1997, to climb Huandoy Sur’s south face. At the start there were four of us on the project: Gerome Blanc-Gras, David Jonglez, Daniel Dulac and me. After 20 days of preparation, during which we fixed three pitches with the teams, Jerome and I continued alone.

We arrived in Huaraz on June 9; the team split on around June 29. The other two thought that climbing the south face would be impossible before their scheduled July 15 return to France. In total, the ascent took more than ten days. The first two days were spent fixing three pitches (we left a static rope fixed on the face and kept food and gear at the top), after which the team split. Then, with a lot of doubt about the outcome, Jerome and I climbed one more pitch in two days, but the weather was not very good. So we descended, returning to Huaraz on July 10 to say good-bye to our friends and get more food. We returned to the face equipped with more food. With the arrival of the full moon, the weather was fairly clear and we climbed for four days, climbing all the aid climbing in three more days and fixing all the static rope we had. When another storm arrived, we went back to Huaraz, using all 500 meters of fixed rope to descend the beautiful overhanging face into the foggy void of the storm. (There was a lot of ambiance in this part of the overhanging wall!)

After ascending the 500 meters of fixed rope (and bringing with us more food), we left the fixed ropes behind and continued climbing, bringing with us two 50-meter ropes, going alpine-style with portaledges. It took us four more days to finish the climb of Huandoy and attain the summit; the last part of the wall was less steep, and it was possible to free climb most of it. However, in certain parts it was still necessary to aid. This second part of the south face of Huandoy offers exceptional mixed climbing. In the final part of the wall, we climbed about 200 meters of original ground, using all methods possible and sleeping on our comfortable portaledges. We reached the summit in the afternoon of July 22, our friendship stronger between us.

On the descent, we found a way via the southwest ridge that was full of seracs, and the route finding proved difficult. But finally, we bivouacked near a col, sheltering ourselves beneath a serac, where we put the portaledge. The following day was difficult, but after serious doubts about route finding we arrived at our base camp before nightfall. We were happy to be on flat ground, and to contemplate what we had done.

We left five new bolts; there are a few old Desmaison bolts on the route. It is a wonderful and serious climb.

Yannick Graziani, France

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