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