Young Duo Makes First Ascent of 8a+ Line on Peru’s Chaupi Huanca

On July 7, European climbing couple Jaume Peiro and Alex Gonzalez became the first to ascend one of Peru’s toughest multi-pitch lines.  The effort, which began on July 3, spanned four days and three nights on the northern arete of Chaupi Huanca in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca. The multi-pitch alpine route, graded 5.13?, 5.11/A2 (8a+?, 6c/A2), scales 750m of the arete at an elite altitude of 5,000m.

Big Fighter. Photo: Alex Gonzalez, Jaume Peiro


Gonzalez and Peiro christened the line ‘Big Fighter’, in honor of Gonzalez’s 15-year-old brother, who has been battling cancer for several years. Two previous attempts on the route by Ecuadorian and Argentinian climbers failed.

Young Lions

Both European climbers are accomplished, especially given their ages —  Peiro is 20 and Gonzalez is just 18.

Peiro is an established competitor on the international climbing circuit and has nabbed more than a few burly sport and bouldering sends, many of them concentrated in North Africa.

Gonzalez fits the more traditional profile of an alpinist. He has already done two routes on El Cap, climbed throughout Canada, the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, and Patagonia’s North Tower of Paine. He’s also ticked off climbs peppering Jordan and Morocco.

Together the couple has knocked out alpine classics in the French and Italian Alps.

Photo: Alex Gonzalez, Jaume Peiro

Big Fighter on Chaupi Huanca: A Fresh Challenge

Despite their upper-level qualifications, the team reserved time in the Rurec Valley to acclimatize before tying in at the base of Chaupi. Even so, the team said about the conditions:

“It has been quite an adventure to climb at an altitude of over 5,000m. A new experience. Technically it was not too difficult, but physically it was. The speed of climbing and the altitude are not good allies, the head has a rhythm, and the body has another.”

Big Fighter marks the first major first ascent on the duo’s three-month climbing trip through South America. Stay tuned to see what else these incredibly young alpinists summit this summer.

Photo: Alex Gonzalez, Jaume Peiro