Climbers "Radio" For Help On Peruvian FA

Posted on: November 5, 2012

El Camino Secreto de Hermann Kichner (5.10- A1 50-90 degrees) on Pisco (5752m), Peru. Austrian Florian Burger and Peruvian Beto Pinto climbed this route up the south face in late August. [Photo] Beto Pinto collection

Originally planning to climb the west face of Yerupaja (ca. 6600m), Austrian Florian Burger and Peruvian Beto Pinto put up a new route on Pisco (5752m) in late August. El Camino Secreto de Hermann Kichner ascends the south face, with maximum difficulties of 5.10- A1 rock and 50- to 90-degree ice and snow.

Beto Pinto, Florian Burger and Bernardo "Radio" Cipiriano Lopez. [Photo] Beto Pinto collection


On Day 1, the team arrived at base camp under a shroud of heavy snow. They spent the following three days shuttling gear to the base of the Huandoy group with the help of their hired cook and porter, Bernardo Cipiriano Lopez, who Pinto calls "Radio."

At three o'clock the following morning, loose snow had the two climbers reassessing their route plans. They instead chose a 400-meter mixed line crawling up the south face of Pisco. They walked to the foot of the face the next morning.

Florian Burger crosses an ice mushroom on the fifth pitch. Much of Burger and Pinto's line up the south face climbed through unconsolidated snow. [Photo] Beto Pinto

Reaching the base of the climb in 40 minutes, Burger and Pinto climbed the first pitch of 50- to 60-degree snow, with a difficult, three-meter traverse on a 90-degree wall to gain a couloir. From here Pinto belayed Burger up the second pitch, a relatively simple scramble up a moderately steep snow couloir. The following pitch climbed hard ice, ranging from 70 to 90 degrees, and a section of unconsolidated snow. This couloir led the team into a "beautiful corridor between a series of snow mushrooms."

The fourth pitch continued through a channel of loose snow to a 5c+ rock section, made difficult by a lack of adequate protection. Pinto finally fiddled two nuts into a small fissure to set up a belay. As Burger made his way up to the marginal anchor, he told his partner he had been hit in the head by falling ice. Pinto diagnosed Burger with a mild concussion, and they considered descending but concluded that going up would be safer than retreat.

Beto Pinto leads the sixth pitch, one of most difficult sections of the climb. [Photo] Florian Burger

The sixth pitch proved to be the crux of the climb. Forty meters of brittle ice, narrowed to three inches in spots. Protection was limited to a smattering of tenuous nut placements, mostly for psychological reassurance. The team ascended a final channel of snow, made technically difficult by a series of overhangs. A falling rock fell past the two men, missing their ropes.

Just five meters from the summit, the team was stymied by warm temperatures and unstable snow. Meanwhile, a group of porters had climbed Pisco by the normal route as part of emergency rescue training. Their porter, Lopez, also climbed the normal route so he could assist in a rescue. Burger and Pinto radioed Lopez to belay them to the summit. At 4:15 p.m., the duo was on the top.

Beto Pinto on the fifth pitch of El Camino Secreto de Hermann Kichner. [Photo] Florian Burger

Around ten routes climb the south face of Pisco, including one that Pinto put up in 2006 called La Crudita. Burger and Pinto's new line crosses the Mexican route, Pinche Guey, on the fifth pitch, but no one has documented having climbed the rest of the route.

Source: Beto Pinto

Chacraraju Oeste (6112m) from Burger and Pinto's high camp in the Huandoy group. [Photo] Beto Pinto collection

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2013-05-29 19:44:46

Chewtoy.... you talk too much

2012-12-07 11:11:39

Buena ruta Beto' ARRIBA PERÚˇˇˇ

2012-11-18 01:49:08

I did not question your style, I question wording, which isn't your's, but others. In our modern world everything must be a success, and news worthy, where as you state being out with friends in the vertical world is success in itself even on a failed attempt.

I have seeked comfort all my life, but have found none.

I try to avoid suffering at all costs, but it sticks to me like my back hair. So please do tell of this ""Cozy Chair", where do I find such? Is it a bivy near the sheraton Watkins?

2012-11-12 04:56:13

Hey! As one of the climbers, who took part in this first ascent, I should mention my point of view: First of all, it was pure random that I found this article so I didn't even know that any information about our climb has been published. Compared to other climbs it isn't important or significant indeed. But this was never my intent: I just wanted to have some fun and to take some cool pictures...just after we finished the climb, my ropepartner told me, that this was maybe a first ascent...but do you know what?...I didn't care about this fact because I just had a great day with a great climb and I took some cool pics :) And that's what climbing should be...having a nice time with friends outdoor. And there shouldn't be time to start thinking about style and something like that. I'm not a professional climber so I don't need to earn money with that. And so I don't see any need to take so much risk just to finish the last 5 metres in a clean style. But for you it is easy to criticise our style when you are at home in your cozy chairs...but believe me, this last 5 metres were not climbable in this least not for us. And it wasn't a rescue...we had the choice to call our porter/cook so that he can fix a rope on the ridge for jumar or to rappel all the way down to the base of the face. But we decided to finish in our "bad" style...and we had a lot of fun while doing so ;)

So, I wish you a nice day and hope one of you will climb "El Camino secreto de Hermann Kirchner" in a cleaner style than we did :)

p.s.: and climbing with concussions isn't easy though ;)

2012-11-10 15:28:50

I know not of the history of Andean Alpinism, so I did an internet search using the Google search engine. When I came upon a text, titled "The Conquistadors of the Useless" the phrase, "Important retreat" seemed apropos.

On terms of the "sherpa giving a hand (in a non-British B.B.C. way) I disinterest. If you achieve a summit via assistance from a group that achieved the summit from an easier route it would appear to be you did summit, but not actually by the route you were on. Is it not easier to explain that situation with a turn of phrase than to have to say, "We reached the summit, but not by the route we were climbing."

2012-11-08 18:53:35

An 'important retreat'? Nah.

Firstly, no climb is 'important' and certainly not one like this, for the annals of Andean alpinism. Nor can I see the 10th short route on a minor peak like Pisco is in any way 'significant'.

Secondly, they didn't actually retreat, they just needed help to keep going for all of 5m after seven pitches of climbing on a 5752m peak. If a Sherpa reaches down and lends a hand to someone puffing up the Hillary Step, does that invalidate their Everest summit? No.

This climb may not have ended in the greatest style, but in climbing terms it can't really be denigrated as either a failure or a retreat.

I'm all for shaming the shifters of goalposts and other equally egregious climbs against humanity. I'm all for more accuracy to better aid our understanding of what's being done.

But I'm also for better terminology than you've chosen in your criticism here. Get new words, and save your pedantry for an ascent that matters.

2012-11-08 14:27:38

I just got back from Recreational Equipment Incorporated where they had a wide range of climbing magazines, many with articles about "modern" ascents.

After reading through what is and what is not considered a failure, I stand, well truth be a stretch, I lay corrected.

How about we settle on calling their ascent

An "important retreat"?

2012-11-08 10:44:30

Significant Failures never the less.

Yes it is true I've have heard of this thing called climbing, but have never gone, but the ethics and "moving the goal post" mentality applies to the stock market also so I find the whole shemegeggma quite engaging albeit a tad sticky.

2012-11-08 07:07:08

Whatever, you're just an armchair pundit calling peoples' worthy adventures failures

2012-11-08 03:21:08

Chew toy confused? I never, never have said someone's attempt at reaching a summit is a load of rubbish, but I would prefer folks to call it as it is,

A significant failure A new bail 1st unsuccessful attempt

these turn of phrases do not diminish an alpinist efforts's but encourage others to take it to the next step.

and you take offense at that? oy vey. Is it okay for me to claim a free climb of the astroman if I only do a little bit of aid? Or should I call it an ascent of the east face route? Or an attempt and failure at not using aid? Which is most truthful? Humorous?

2012-11-08 00:31:44

chewtoy, you should contact that Kurtyka bloke and tell him his ascent of G4's shining wall was a load of rubbish while you're at it. He never went to the top either

2012-11-07 01:39:00

An interesting way to fail significantly

2012-11-06 04:57:23
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