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Routes in Santa Cruz Valley

Alpamayo French Direct T WI2
Artesonraju North Ridge AI2-3
Quitaraju North Face Direct
Type: Ice, Alpine, 3200 ft, 4 pitches, Grade IV
FA: unknown
Page Views: 2,155 total, 45/month
Shared By: Cissa Carvalho on Jan 8, 2014 with updates
Admins: Tony Yeary

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Artesonraju´s North Ridge (alpine D) is one of the most classic routes on the range, and makes for a worth while climb if you´re in the Santa Cruz valley for Alpamayo or Quitaraju.

From moraine camp, a 20 minute walk leads you to the entrance of the glacier. Glacier itself varies a lot from year to year, but expect to encounter traga-hombres and moderate steep ice from the beginning. Glacier is usually entered from the right, a long traverse leads you to a short and steep, 80 degree step. From there traverse diagonally to the right at about 60 degrees, cross some crevasses, another traverse to the left and finally, gain the 240 m wall at about 70 degrees snow and ice. 4 pitches and you reach the summit ridge, and about 30 minutes on exposed ridge lead you tot he summit. Descend the same route.


Conditions vary from year to year, and the technical portion may require sometimes pickets, sometimes ice screw. Ask around conditions and , and two 60 meter ropes.
Chris C.
Seattle, WA
  AI3-4 R
Chris C.   Seattle, WA
  AI3-4 R
2017 update of the route:

It is generally agreed upon that the route is now a D+. (Yay global warming!) Most of the climbing is in the AI3 range, with a lot of vertical meters to cover. We simulclimbed the route, as pitching it out would probably increase the required time by 5+ hours. If you were to actually pitch this route out, it would probably be along the line of 15+ pitches. There are also a couple sporty ice moves (AI4ish) higher up on the route, but nothing too crazy. The last bit to gain the summit ridge is a very brittle snow bridge with a lot of exposure, this seems to be where most parties stop - it is for this section that I give the route an 'R'.

Most locals seem to refer to this route as the "North Face". Take beta with a grain of salt, we got a lot of "it's impossible" feedback in Huaraz and at BC. We heard everything - chest deep snow for 200m, a huge crevasse at the summit, a ridiculously corniced ridge, and a 50m deep crack in the ridge.

There are a few spots for tents at Morrain Camp. Generally there aren't many folks up there, if any. However, if there is a commercial expedition (I know of only 1), they may sit on all the spots for quite a few days. We had to dig out a new spot for ourselves to make room. The hike from BC to MC is kind of a pain, stay on the prominent ridges, it's easy to waste energy following the cow trails below. I've heard that you can pay a couple hundred bucks for a porter to take your backpack up as well. (I have no idea where you would find a porter, but BC if full of trekking parties and you can probably ask around there. A few hundred dollars sounded expensive for the area to me, so if you actually want to do this I'd start bidding at a much lower price.)

Protection & Gear
Regarding protection, safety, and gear, you'll need plenty of pickets if you want to rap the majority of the route if there aren't any already placed - 6-8 would be reasonable and you'll still probably do a bit of downclimbing. Pickets can be found cheap in town too, but they are heavier than MSR or SMCs. A few long screws for running belays and v-threads is a good idea. Which ice tools to bring is always a question for me - in this case one ice tool (eg. Cobra) and one aggressive hybrid tool with an adze (eg. Quark) was perfect for me. Double ropes are a must. Be cautious of left behind v-threads, we had one pop on us. Climbing times seem to vary wildly between parties, so you probably want to come as best acclimatized and prepared as you can. We took just under 12 hours round trip, while another party took 20+ to not summit. Jul 8, 2017