Huascaran and Alpamayo

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Fri 1 Oct 2010 19:42
Mount Huascaran

Huascaran or Nevado Huascaran is a mountain in the Peruvian province of Yungay, situated in the Cordillera Blanca range of the Western Andes. The highest southern summit of Huascarán (Huascaran Sur) is the highest point in Peru and all the Earth's Tropics. Huascaran is the sixth highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere after Aconcagua, Ojos del Salado, Monte Pissis, Cerro Bonete, and Tres Cruces. The mountain was named after Huascar, a 16th century Inca chieftain who was the Sapa Inca of the Inca empire. A summit elevation of 22,205 feet is traditionally cited, although a slightly lower elevation of 22,139 feet from a more recent survey is also quoted. The core of Nevada Huascaran like much of the Cordillera Blanca, are Tertiary granites.

Huascaran gives its name to Huascaran National Park which surrounds it, and is a popular location for trekking and mountaineering. Huascaran is normally climbed from the village of Musho to the west via a high camp in the col that separates the summits, known as La Garganta. The ascent normally takes five to seven days, the main difficulties being the large crevasses that often block the route. The Huascaran summit is one of the points on the Earth's surface farthest from the Earth's centre.



Climbing History: The summit was first reached in July 1932 by a joint German - Austrian expedition, the north peak (Huascaran Norte) had previously been climbed in 1908 by a US expedition that included Annie Smith Peck.

1970 Earthquake: On the 31st of May 1970, the Ancash earthquake caused a substantial part of the north side of the mountain to collapse. The block of ice and rocks was about one mile long, half a mile wide and half a mile deep. In about five minutes it flowed eleven miles to Yungay, burying the entire town under ice and rock, and causing the deaths of more than twenty thousand people. Also buried by an avalanche was a Czechoslovakian mountaineering team, none of whose members was ever seen again. This and other earthquake-induced avalanche events are often described incorrectly as "eruptions" of Huascaran, which is not of volcanic origin. Five years earlier, on the 10th of January 1962, another landslide, caused by a rapid rise in temperature killed an estimated 4,000 people.



Mount Alpamayo

Alpamayo is one of the most conspicuous peaks in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range of the Peruvian Andes. It is a steep (sixty degrees), almost perfect pyramid of ice, one of a number of peaks that compose the Santa Cruz massif, the northernmost massif of the Cordillera Blanca. Although smaller than many of its neighboring peaks, it is distinguished by its unusual formation and overwhelming beauty. It actually has two sharp summits, North and South, separated by a narrow corniced ridge. The mountain is named after the village of Alpamayo (Quechua Allpamayu: allpa = earth; mayu = river: muddy river), whereas its local Quechua name is Shuyturahu (shuytu = thin and long, pyramid; rahu = snowy mountain, glacier). On July 1966, on the German magazine "Alpinismus", a photo made by American photographer Leigh Ortenburger, came together with an article resulting from an international survey among climbers, photographers, etc, making the choice for Alpamayo as "The Most Beautiful Mountain in the World".

Climbing History and Routes: Most popular routes start from the village of Caraz, on the north of the Cordillera Blanca. A French-Belgian expedition including George and Claude Kogan claimed to have made the first ascent in 1951. After studying the photos in George Kogan's book The Ascent of Alpamayo, the German team of G. Hauser, F. Knauss, B. Huhn & H. Wiedmann came to the conclusion that the 1951 team did not reach the actual summit, thereby making their ascent via the north ridge in 1957 the first.

The most common climbing route, known as the Ferrari route, is situated on the southwest face of the mountain. It was opened in 1975 by a group of Italian alpinists led by Casimiro Ferrari. It is considered a difficult climb, demanding good crampon and ice-climbing technique. There are incomparable views of steep ice faces, penitentes, gigantic white walls and ridges like those of Huandoy Norte, Artesonraju and Huascaran Norte, similar to the finest of the Himalayan scenery. There are also at least six other alternative climbing routes, the second most popular being the Vasque-French route.


Amazing to think that we have seen these mountains here in Peru, they look like they belong in the Himalayas.