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New Route on Puscanturpa Este

The route of Poco Loco (VI+/TD) on he north face of Puscanturpa Este (5410m) as climbed by Bas van der Smeede, Elly van der Plas, Bas Visscher, Vincent van Beek and Saskia van der Smeede. [Photo] Bas van der Smeede

After traveling to the southeast corner of the Cordillera Huaybuash in Peru, Dutch climbers Bas van der Smeede, Elly van der Plas, Bas Visscher, Vincent van Beek and Saskia van der Smeede established a new line on the north face of Puscanturpa Este (5410m) called Poco Loco (VI+/TD).

The group arrived in Cajatambo and spent several days preparing for the climb, and enjoying a local fiesta. After a two day trek, they established a base camp at 4500 meters near Laguna Viconga, and began acclimatizing by climbing two nearby 5000 meter peaks. When the team approached the east face of the mountain, they found that the snow and ice at the base was too rotten to climb. Originally inspired by the 2007 ascent of the east face by Pavle Kozjek and Grega Kresal, they quickly revised their plan, focusing their efforts on the previously unclimbed north face.

Due to the overhanging columns in the first 100 meters of the north face, the team decided to start on the 2007 Slovenian route, and then traverse over. With high winds and bitter cold, the team made their way from the Slovenian start onto the steep north face. Shortly thereafter, bad weather began to creep in, causing the team to retreat.

Elly van der Plas climbing the broken ridge to the summit of the Puscanturpa Este. [Photo] Bas van der Smeede

On July 30, the team returned with bivy gear, prepared for whatever poor weather the mountains might throw their way. After climbing the first pitch, Elly van der Plas and Saskia van der Smeede retreated due to strong winds and biting cold. The rest of the team continued to climb. Following the traverse from the Slovenian start, they began climbing the steep, overhanging columns on the north face. In order to avoid deadly rock fall, the three climbers remained in a straight line. Two pitches into the climb, the team was stopped by a blank section of rock and was forced to traverse left to the ridge. Despite extremely loose rock, they pressed on, summiting at around 3:00 p.m.

Two days later, Elly and Saskia came back to try the route again. After sixteen hours, they climbed the route and descended, claiming the second ascent of the new route.

Source: Bas vd Smeede