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Quitaraju North Face Direct 

Quitaraju North Face Direct 

Type:  Alpine, 8 pitches, 2700', Grade III
Original: Steep Snow [details]
Season: Andean winter, ideally june and july
Page Views: 961
Submitted By: Cissa Carvalho on Sep 17, 2014

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Quitaraju North Face seen from Alpamayo col camp.


Quitaraju´s North Face Direct (alpine D) is a straight forward direct route that leads to one of the most exposed ridges of the Cordillera Blanca, with huge drops on both sides. Depending on the season, this can be a snow climb or a delicate ice climb.

The actual wall makes for about half of the altitude gain (around 1300 ft), mostly on 55°, a little steeper as you approach the summit ridge.

Usually the route is a straight line but some seasons with more snow result in cornices of sugary snow on the top, that may form flutes as they descend towards the middle of the wall, so if that is case, find a way to climb around them somehow.


From the Alpamayo col camp, head on a straight line parallel to the north face of the mountain. After the second avalanche debri area, start ascending moderate slopes towards the bergshrund (1h30-2h) and find a brigde to cross onto the wall. It is best to climb to the right of the rocky section and adjust your route according to conditions, but usually straight up to the summit ridge. From there walk to the climbers left on a very exposed (2300 ft drop to one side, 3000 ft to the other) ridge to reach the summit. Walk back to the point where you reached the ridge and rappel or down climb all the way to the shrund, and then walk back to camp.


Experienced parties can simul climb the entire wall, and then if conditions aren´t good in the summit, place some running belays on the summit ridge. Some 3-4 pickets are necessary for the summit. If comfortable down climbing the wall, then no more pickets are necessary but the bergshrund can be quite big, so it is recommended to take 8-9 pickets overall, and a few ice screws.
In any case, conditions can change a lot and some years it can be more hard snow and some years more ice. It is advisable to ask around for conditions and plan accordingly.

Photos of Quitaraju North Face Direct Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading one of the intermediate pitches.
Leading one of the intermediate pitches.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunrise behind Alpamayo, seen from the route on Qu...
Sunrise behind Alpamayo, seen from the route on Qu...

Comments on Quitaraju North Face Direct Add Comment
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By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 27, 2016

I'd advise to climb this route before Alpamayo. If you climb Alpamayo first, suddenly Quitaraju doesn't look so cool by comparison and it is easy to find an excuse to skip it. This is what happened to us, anyway.

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