Cordillera Huayhuash

Cordillera Huayhuash

Yerupaja – Andes

      Yerupaja (6635m), located in the Cordillera Huayhuash in Peruvian Andes, is the second-highest summit in South America. It is both beautiful and difficult: The pick raises more than 1000m above a strongly cracked glacier, as an almost vertical icy wall. Moreover, the area is tectonically very active.

      In 1981 Gliwice Mountaineering Club arranged an Expedition to climb it. It was composed of nine climbers: Janusz Baranek, Andrzej Czok, Stanisław Cholewa, Leszek Czarnecki, Małgorzata Kiełkowska, Jan Kiełkowski, Elżbieta Skorek, Janusz Skorek, and Tadeusz Szulc.

      The Cordillera Huayhuash was reached in three days-long walks, with mules, which carried the food and equipment for one month-long operation. The Expedition Base was established near a post-glacier lake, at the level of 4000m. A trout in the lake was a special attraction to this camping place. J. Skorek knew about it before we came to Huayhuash and brought fishing rods, which proved to be very useful.

Very close, 150m above us was another glacier lake. Ten years earlier, a group of 20 climbers from Slovakia set a camp at the bottom of the moraine wall of that lake. An avalanche caused by an earthquake fall from Yerupaja slopes into the lake and created an enormous wave that broke the moraine. A huge amount of water run down from the lake by a V-shaped gap, reducing its level by 50m. The Slovakian camp was obliterated. Nobody survived.

      Four weeks in Huayhuash we shared between climbing, fishing, and hunting after a nasty dog of an old Indian woman who had a home a half kilometer apart, a dog that lived on the food from our camp robbery.

      The Expedition has occurred to be successful: A. Czok, J. Skorek, and J. Baranek, in two-days climbing ascended the Yerupaja summit.