Peru (June-July 1997): Yerupaja and Salcantay


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In June-July 1997 I returned to Peru to climb Yerupaja in the Cordillera Huayhuash and Salkantay in the Cordillera Vilcabamba with Mark Houston and Kathy Cosley. Unfortunately, the dangerous conditions on both summits (overhanging seracs on Yerupaja and badly corniced final ridge on Salcantay) led us to turn back before reaching them.


Cordillera Huayhuash and Yerupaja (6635m):


Topographic map of the Northern part of the Cordillera Huayhuash, with Nevado Yerupaja.


The main street in the village of Llamac at the North end of the Cordillera Huayhuash.


Limestone cliffs in the Cordillera Huayhuash.


North face (with rock) and West face (with snow and ice) of Yerupaja.


Base camp of Yerupaja near Lake Jahuakocha (our tents are at the bottom-right of the picture).


High camp of Yerupaja, with beautiful Jirishanca (6126m) in the background.


Another view of Jirishanca.


Over the past 20 years, the smooth West face of Yerupaja has become a broken field of overhanging seracs. The view on the left is from a postcard taken 15 to 20 years ago. The photo on the right shows the normal route under the col, in 1997.


Seracs on Yerupaja.


Mark and me on a promontoire off the North ridge of Yerupaja, with Jirishanca behind us. Yerupaja Chico is on the right of both images.


Rappeling down from the North ridge of Yerupaja. I first took the photo in the middle (with Kathy waiting at the end of the rope). Then I lowered down the camera to Kathy who took the picture on the right. The picture on the left was taken later and shows the face we were descending.


Cerro Mexico is a ~5,000m rock peak north of Yerupaja. We climbed the north-west ridge (on the left in the photo), a fun, but exposed class 4 climb with many loose rocks. Mark at the top (right photo).


Cordillera Vilcabamba and Salcantay (6271m):


Scenery of the Cordillera Vilcabamba.

Three faces of Salcantay, from left to right: South-East, South, and West.


From left to right: our route on the West face (the green square indicates the high camp), the ridge where we turned back (at least 500m under the summit), and this same ridge shown with a red square from the South-West.



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