Peak Climbed: Nevado Artesonraju (19,682')

Route: S Face to E Ridge Difficulty: D

Location: Cordillera Blanca, Peru Trailhead: Laguna Paron (13,800')

Mileage & Gain: 4 mi & 1,000 ft to forest camp + 3.5 mi & 2,100 ft to high camp + 1.5 mi & 3,400 ft to summit

Dates Climbed: July 13-16, 2016

DAY ONE: Forest Camp (14,500')

DAY TWO: High Camp (16,300')


DAY FOUR: Back to Huaraz

Artesonraju was the main objective of our three week long trip to the Cordillera Blanca. Before attempting this technical giant we ensured we were well acclimated by warming up on Yanapaccha, Pisco and Chopicalqui. This worked very well.

The south face has traditionally served as the standard route on Artesonraju but it has been in poor condition in recent years. Early this season several parties reached the summit via the north ridge, our intended route, but due to the dry conditions this year some of the crevasses up high were reportedly becoming quite problematic. However, according to the gal working the desk at Casa de Guias, Artensonraju had recently seen a couple of successful ascents from the south. Assuming that the standard south face route must be finally in again and decided this would be our best bet.

The approach up Quebrada Paron is spectacular; the best of any I have done in the Cordillera Blanca. It starts with a hike past the 2.3 mile long Laguna Paron, the longest lake in the range. There are various possible camps along the way; we skipped base camp, stayed at what they call forest camp, skipped moraine camp, and made high camp on the glacier.

On summit morning we more or less traversed the entire heavily cravassed base of the south face looking for the route and/or some sign of prior human activity. No boot prints ad nothing that looked inviting to climb. We had seen tracks much further right low down, and eventually traversed until we found them again. A line on the far right side of the face delivered us to 18,500 feet on the east ridge after five sixty meter pitches of steep snow and ice. From there, an interesting and technical snow and ice climb up the ridge led to the summit. The three of us simulclimbed the entire route and descended in 14 rappels, all but one or two requiring double ropes. It was the clear highlight of the trip and I enjoyed it more than any other climb I've done in the range.

thinking that we should

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