New M6 Route on Pisco Peak

Pisco, one of the most popular peaks in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, had a new route opened this week by Spain’s climbing brothers Iker and Eneko Pou and local guide Micher Quito. Even seasoned climbers might think twice before facing the new line up the 5,780m peak, judging from the video shared by the climbers.

First, the trio acclimatized by doing the normal route some days before. Then they did the new line in a single, 20-hour push from a refuge located at 4,680m.

The route starts atop a heavily crevassed glacier. The steep 640m line, up to 85º at times, gave the climbers no respite.

A climber traversing under an overhanging ice serac on Pisco, Andes

Navigating a maze of vertical seracs. Photo: Pou Brothers


Harder than expected

The main obstacle was a maze of seracs that proved even more difficult than the climbers had expected, according to Eneko Pou.

“Night fell as we climbed the last pitch,” he told “I feared we would have to bivouac with nothing but the clothes we had on. For the sake of lightness, we had carried no gas, food, or sleeping bags.”

The climbers also noted the lack of ice on most of the lower face, with rock covered only by loose snow. This slowed their progress and caused both Eneko Pou and Micher Quito to suffer falls — luckily not serious.

The climbers suggested that the overall grade of the new line, called Pisco Sour, is M6.

Route marked in yellow on a photo of Pisco peak.

The new route on Pisco, Peru. Photo: The Pou Brothers/Facebook


“We also had to fight mentally,” Eneko Pou added. “Just some days ago, we had to help rescue the lifeless body of our friend Tomas Franchini, who perished while climbing Cashan [5,686m].”

Check a video of the ascent here:


Iker and Eneko Pou from Vitoria (Spain’s Basque Country) have developed a career sending and opening high-difficulty sport-climbing routes around the world. They have combined this with alpine climbing on rock and ice, big walls, and high-altitude climbing.

During their 7 Walls, 7 Continents project, they free-climbed what they considered the most emblematic wall on every continent. In the last four years, they have traveled every spring to the Peruvian Andes, where they have opened many routes in the nevados (higher peaks) of the Cordillera Blanca.


Note: Herve Thivierge of France reports that he climbed that line in 1978 with Jean Paul Balmat, Daniel Monaci, and Jean Fabre. He has shared a topo, below, which shows roughly the same line, with some variations on the lower and summit sections, and different conditions: Pisco was more snow-covered 56 years ago.

old route up Pisco

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.