The Pou Brothers Free Climb ‘Aupa Gasteiz’ in the Peruvian Andes

Eneko and Iker Pou managed the first free climb of a route that they themselves opened in 2019, in the Cordillera Blanca of the Peruvian Andes. They named the 160m, 7c+ line Aupa Gasteiz, after a town in their native Basque County. The route lies at an altitude of 4,200m.

On the new route. Photo: Eneko and Iker Pou


Their handwritten description of the route. Photo: Eneko and Iker Pou



A smaller, Andes version of El Capitan. Photo: Eneko and Iker Pou


The line has five pitches, all grade seven. Three of them border on grade eight.

“It is a beautiful and aesthetic wall. The first time we saw it, we thought it was like El Capitan in Yosemite, a smaller but much higher version,” they said.

In 2019, when they opened this line, a rock hurtled down and hit Eneko Pou in the leg. He had to go to the hospital and received several stitches.

The popular Pou Brothers, Eneko and Iker, always have a positive mindset. Photo: Eneko and Iker Pou


Finishing the job

Because of that, they didn’t have time to free climb it. That is, to ascend the route with only their hands and feet, without holding on to their hardware or resting on the rock. That is why they returned this year to finish the job.

They are continuing with their acclimatization in the Andes before exploring more new lines. Photo: Eneko and Iker Pou


This is just the beginning of their two-month expedition in the Andes. Based in the city of Huaraz, itself at an altitude of 3,000m, they will ​​continue to open new, technically difficult routes nearby. Mountains in this area often exceed 6,000m.

Aupa Gasteiz marks the eleventh difficult climb that the Pou brothers have achieved in their last four trips to Peru (2017, 2019, 2021, and 2022). This includes nine openings and two first free climbs.

When they are not in the mountains, they train in old-school style. Photo: Frame from a video

Kris Annapurna

KrisAnnapurna is a writer with ExplorersWeb.

Kris has been writing about history and tales in alpinism, news, mountaineering, and news updates in the Himalaya, Karakoram, etc., for the past year with ExplorersWeb. Prior to that, Kris worked as a real estate agent, interpreter, and translator in criminal law. Now based in Madrid, Spain, she was born and raised in Hungary.