LA ESFINGE (THE SPHINX)

Posted on: December 1, 2003


Dusan Beranek slab climbing Pitch 3 (5.12c) on the free ascent of Welcome to the Slabs of Koricancha (V 5.13b, 650m) on La Esfinge in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru. We like his pants. [Photo] Vladimir Linek

On June 18, Slovaks Dusan Beranek, Rado Staruch and I reached the top of La Esfinge (5325m), having climbed a new route, Welcome to the Slabs of Koricancha (V 5.13b, 650m, 13 pitches), via the largest slabs on the east face. We spent ten days on this amazing granite tower in the Paron Valley and named the route in honor of the Incan sun temple in the Peruvian town of Cuzco.

The route starts at 4650 meters at the base of the east face next to Ganxets Glace (VI 5.9 A2, Ortuno-Salvado, 1996). Ganxets Glace leads to a ledge in the middle of the wall and continues to the right through an impressive chimney. Welcome To the Slabs... connects with Ganxets Glace at the ledge via a direct line and continues left and up through the slabs between two distinct black water streaks to the route Here Comes the Sun (VI 5.11 A3, Bigger-Regan, 2000). We first climbed the route using aid at 7b+ (5.12c) A1, but with an all-free line in our minds. We placed twenty-nine bolts at belays and sixty-eight on the pitches using an electric drill and delicate hooking. We fixed the route to the ledge in the middle of the wall and set up portaledges. From there we climbed three difficult slab pitches between the black water streaks and four easier pitches directly to the top of the Sphinx. On June 23, Dusan, belayed by me, succeeded in free climbing the route in one day in redpoint style. On June 25 and 26, Rado Staruch and I also climbed the route free, with Rado onsighting the crux sixth pitch (5.13b).

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— Vlado Linek, Bratislava, Slovakia



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