CHACRARAJU OESTE, NORTH FACE

Posted on: December 1, 2004


Aritza Monasterio enjoying excellent granite on the second pitch (6a A1) of the Lord of the Towers (ED+: 6a A1 AI6- 90, 800m) on Chacraraju Oeste (6112m). The route continues slightly right up through the overhangs; it was completed in fourteen hours to the juncture with the Original Route, twenty-four hours base-to-base. [Photo] Marjan Kovac

On July 8-9, Marjan Kovac and I (both from Slovenia) and Aritza Monasterio (Spain/Basque, living in Huaraz) opened a new route on the north face of Chacraraju Oeste (6112m) in a lightweight, single push. We started from Huaraz on July 5 and established a base camp in the Paria Valley on the east side of the Cordillera Blanca. There we spent another day in bad weather, deciphering the complicated approach to the north face of Chacraraju.

In nice weather the next morning, we started our route, which began left of the buttress in the center of the face. We found some old pitons and fixed ropes on the first pitches. After four pitches of excellent rock (6a A1) we traversed right to an icefield. Conditions there were mostly bad (wet, new snow) until the wall became steeper, but unfortunately the first ice gully ended in overhanging mushrooms.

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With another traverse we reached a new gully, and after ten meters of vertical ice we reached mixed ground (M4-5) on the ridge. It was already dark, so we climbed with headlamps. The last rock barrier presented a problem: overhanging and, given the darkness, with no visible weaknesses. Another traverse, this time to the left, brought us to a vertical corner that sported a combination of rock and snow mushrooms. As usual in the Andes, it was the key to the top. After some dramatic moments we stood on the summit at about 10 p.m., having completed the Lord of the Towers (El Senor de las Torres, ED+: 6a A1 AI6- 90 degrees, 800m) to the juncture with the original 1956 Terray route on the ridge, in fourteen hours.

We started to rappel immediately. Ten hours later, after some trouble with cold, dehydration and jammed ropes, we were again at the base of the face. We reached base camp by midnight. The next day, we continued our descent back to Huaraz in bad weather. We couldn't find any information about the old fixed ropes.

— Pavle Kozjek, Ljubljana, Slovenia



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