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Routes in Artesonraju

East Ridge AI2-3
Type: Ice, Alpine, 14 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 435 total, 28/month
Shared By: Sarah Meiser on Aug 12, 2016
Admins: Tony Yeary

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Description

I'd never heard or read of this route before I ended up doing it but this turned out to be my favorite climb over the course of two trips to the Cordillera Blanca. We'd been tentatively planning on trying Artesonraju's north ridge but then heard from the Casa de Guias that parties had recently found success on the south side. We assumed this meant the standard southeast face route was finally in again and decided to give it a try instead. It wasn't until we got in there and traversed the entire base of the southeast face that we realized the route they were speaking of actually used the edge of the face to gain the east ridge and was not the standard southeast face route.

Getting to High Camp:

Hike along the trail for about three miles past stunning Laguna Paron, the longest lake in the Cordillera Blanca. At one point the trail dead ends at a long cliff and unless the water level is very low you must climb up and traverse over it on a steep, slick, exposed grassy slope which can be a bit unnerving with a heavy pack. Base camp is located about a quarter mile past the lake. Many skip this camp and continue another mile and 700 vertical feet to forest camp at 14,500 feet.

Continue up the good trail until the moraine of the Paron Glacier comes into view. There are several tent sites here at 15,650 foot moraine camp. Descend a bit to a small lake at the foot of the Paron Glacier and hike along the right side of the lake. Get onto the gentle, icy glacier and hike under the south face of Artesonraju. High camp is at 16,300 feet below the south face.

Summit Day:

From high camp on the icy Paron Glacier find a way up the heavily crevassed, mostly moderate slopes above, aiming for the right (east) side of the steep and imposing south face. This may involve a cruxy technical step or two. At the base of the face tackle a bergschrund and climb five or so 200 foot pitches of steep snow and ice to gain the east ridge at 18,500 feet. Conditions vary, but we had to execute a delicate and exposed traverse to the right at the top to sneak around seracs hanging from the ridge. Follow the steep and sustained east ridge for about eight more pitches, weaving around seracs to the summit.

Parties should know how to move efficiently on steep snow and ice and be prepared to simulclimb all or most of the route. Its a long day already without pitching anything out.

To descend, do approximately 14 rappels down the route. We did 8 on the ridge, 5 on the face, and 1 on the lower glacier.

Location

From Huaraz take a private taxi or collectivo to Caraz and then on to the Laguna Paron trailhead at 13,800 feet. Driving time is roughly 3 hours.

Protection

A few ice screws and multiple pickets. Double ropes required. Ask around about current conditions. If there are no anchors in place you will need to bring a lot of pickets. When I climbed this route in 2016 we did 14 rappels; about 2/3 of the anchors were pickets and the other 1/3 v-threads.
Matt Lemke
Red Lodge, MT
Matt Lemke   Red Lodge, MT
That rightward traverse you mention was a little tricky, but took good screws. I thought rappelling that traverse on the way down was scarier. Just past that it was a half rope length up easy snow to the ridge crest. This would probably be my favorite route in the CB I have done as well. I still cannot get over the coincidence of running into you guys just as we finished, and were coming down off the same route! If I recall, we used 3 V-threads, and 11 pickets getting down this thing. Luckily the guides began using the same route just before us and left a bunch of pickets already, so we only left 2 I believe. If you are the first party up there, plan to possibly leave 13-14 pickets! Apr 28, 2017