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Beautiful Artesonraju Compels Two to Summit

After our suc­cess with the Yana­pac­cha — Chopakal­ki group, Bar­bara and I head­ed towards the San­ta Cruz val­ley with the inten­tion of attempt­ing Arteson­ra­ju, which is tru­ly one of the most beau­ti­ful peaks around the world. I have to men­tion before the climb­ing details, that Bar­bara, my climb­ing part­ner for this trip, is one of those peo­ple where the moti­va­tion is nev­er a ques­tion mark. Being a guide, I get to meet dif­fer­ent peo­ple with dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives about under­stand­ing moun­tains. Some of them like the idea of reach­ing a spe­cif­ic sum­mit and oth­ers the idea of the chal­lenge, but what I liked about Bar­bara is that she likes the idea of climb­ing just because it is fun and it feels great! Also, I have to say that we both like choos­ing our climb­ing projects depend­ing on the aes­thet­ic of the peak. It is just nec­es­sary to look at any pic­ture of Arteson­ra­ju, to under­stand that it is not dif­fi­cult to fall in love with such a beau­ti­ful peak and of course want to climb it. 

The cap­ti­vat­ing north side of Arteson­ra­ju. Joshua Jar­rin photo

The team was the same as in the fist part of the expe­di­tion: two porters, one mule dri­ver, and Juan our cook. Juan kept us well fed with deli­cious meals, some of them very sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing the con­di­tions and for a moment we almost for­got we were on an expe­di­tion. Once we arrived at the moraine camp we got a lit­tle wor­ried because clouds were com­ing from the east and it was get­ting over­cast quick­ly. We had had clear skies for many days before this peak so it was break­ing pat­tern. I called by satel­lite phone and con­firmed that the night of the 19th was our last chance, so we had to go for it.

Bar­bara enjoy­ing the climb. Joshua Jar­rin photo

We start­ed at mid­night with a French press cof­fee pre­pared by Juan. After approach­ing the glac­i­er by easy gran­ite slabs, we entered into the low­er glac­i­er of the north­east side of the peak. As soon as we gained some alti­tude every­thing was get­ting steep­er and a bit more com­pli­cat­ed. At 5am we final­ly reached the head­wall of the peak, a 60-degree aver­age gul­ly that we had to climb on six pitch­es in order to get to the sum­mit ridge. Enjoy­ing the first light of the day climb­ing in real­ly good ice and snow con­di­tions with the view of the north­ern side of Cordillera Blan­ca was just per­fect. Every time I asked Bar­bara how she was doing, she kept say­ing, I am doing great, this is fun!”.

Steep ridge climb­ing — Peru­vian style! Joshua Jar­rin photo

We final­ly arrived to the sum­mit at 10am, but the clouds were already rolling around the range and we could­n’t take a pic­ture like the one we did on Chopakal­ki, but that was ok con­sid­er­ing the land­scapes we saw on the final part of the climb. After five rap­pels and some glac­i­er tra­vers­es we were back to the camp, where Juan was wait­ing with a hot meal. 

Arteson­ra­ju sum­mit route. Joshua Jar­rin photo

Cloudy but suc­cess­ful sum­mit. Joshua Jar­rin photo

Now I am in Huaraz rest­ing a lit­tle bit and Bar­bara is already think­ing about her next climb. I hope I have the hon­or to be her guide again in a dif­fer­ent des­ti­na­tion. From my side this is a climb ded­i­cat­ed to Joel S. and his Tam­my, some Moun­tain Mad­ness fel­lows who could­n’t join us this time due to a last minute incon­ve­nience and who we are look­ing for­ward to see­ing again. 

~MM Guide Joshua Jarrin