ILLAMPU

Posted on: December 1, 2002


The Confederacy of Dunces (V WI5 M4, 870m), which Jerome Mercader and I climbed on June 9, takes the central couloir in the middle of the north face of Illampu (6368m). This face has changed considerably over the years, becoming drier than it was twenty-five years ago. The route uses the same start as the 1978 Mesili Route.

The first part of the gully—six pitches with an eighty-five-degree ice step and drytooling sections to M4—brought us to the bottom of a fifty-meter serac (the route's crux). This was climbed in a seventy-meter pitch (WI5 M4). We then followed a scary ridge, climbing left (70 degrees) around a second serac. More snow followed before the last serac, which involved one pitch of seventy-degree ice. We climbed to the left on snow with some mixed sections to avoid a rocky headwall, then followed a secondary ridge to the foresummit, which we reached seven and a half hours after starting. From here, it took two hours to reach the main summit along a very corniced ridge. We downclimbed the normal (Southwest Ridge) route.

— Sebastien Constant, France

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