Pou Brothers Free Unclimbed Face in Peru

Viva Peru Carajo from the Ground
Viva Peru Carajo route map. Photo: Iker Pou, Eneko Pou

It’s been quite the summer for route development on Peru’s Cordillera Blanca range. On July 14, Pou brothers Enenko and Iker established ¡Viva Peru Carajo!, a gritty, mixed multi-pitch line up the Nevado Humashuraju Este’s virginal southern face.

The Basque siblings are accomplished big-wall expeditionists. Combined, the Pous have ticked off climbs in at least 59 different countries.

15 Hours, -15˚C

The new line crawls up 600m of the eastern peak and tops out at an altitude of 5,350m. Exact grades for each pitch were not available at the time of writing, but the Pous assigned the 80-degree “money pitch” a grade of M7. According to Alpinist, M7 is listed as “overhanging; powerful and technical dry tooling; less than 10m of hard climbing.”

The pair used free and alpine techniques to negotiate their way over what the Pou brothers describe as “thin ice slabs glued to the rock with some mixed sections”. Despite clear conditions throughout the pursuit, temps hovered at or below -15˚C. They actively climbed ¡Viva Peru Carajo! for seven hours, taking one hour to transect unstable, low-grade terrain and six to ascend the steep, vertical face.

Viva Peru Carajo climbing up

Photo: Iker Pou, Eneko Pou

According to a post from the Pou Brothers YouTube channel, “[the] route is entirely glacial climbing (ice ax and crampons), and follows in a very elegant way the small tongues of ice that sneak between the rock and crosses the entire wall as if it were a spider web.”

They then spent several hours carefully abseiling down the opposite side of the peak. In all, the first ascent experience was short — the entire adventure totaled 15 hours from base camp to summit and back.

Pou Bros on FA of Viva Peru Carajo

Photo: Iker Pou, Eneko Pou

¡Viva Peru Carajo!: A Future Classic?

The Pous took to social media following their FA, proclaiming each pitch as “spectacular” and remarking on the exceptional quality of the mixed formation. They also noted that the safety and accessibility of the multi-pitch line position it as a new gem in the Cordillera’s crown.

Situated near the town of Huaraz, ¡Viva Peru Carajo!‘s location makes for an atypically easy approach by Cordillera Blanca standards.

Huamashraju - Google Maps

Satellite view of Nevado Huamashraju Este. Image: Google Maps

For more information on ¡Viva Peru Carajo! and to keep up with the expeditious Pou brothers, check out their autobiographical site, HermanosPou.com, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Pou Bros on Summit of Viva Peru Carajo

Photo: Iker Pou, Eneko Pou

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About the Author

Jilli Cluff

Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college.
After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing. In 2020, Jilli left her corporate position to pursue an outdoor-oriented life.
She now works as a contributor, an editor, and a gear tester for ExplorersWeb and various other outlets within the AllGear network.
She is based out of Austin, Texas where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.

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max muster
7 days ago

the 80º ‘M7’ pitch is probably not overhanging 😉
I wonder what they actually had their sights set on.

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