Two More Quality First Ascents in the Peruvian Andes

Two new first ascents in Peru prove that the Andes still hold many opportunities for alpinists looking to make their mark.

Over the last week, two climbing teams announced significant new routes in two of Peru’s most famous ranges: one in the Cordillera Blanca and another in the Cordillera Huayhuash.

‘Reino Hongo’

First, Alik Berg and Quentin Roberts announced the first ascent of a new line on the East Face of Jirishanca in the Huayhuash. The east face soars to just 31m below the mountain’s peak at 6,125m.

“Reino Hongo” on Jirishanca. Photo: Quentin Roberts


They named their 1,100-metre-line “Reino Hongo”, after the Mushroom Kingdom from the Super Mario Brothers video games. They rated it 5.8, M7.

On Instagram, Roberts said he and Berg considered the route “a line full of question marks” before they started up.

“Steep complex snow, tricky mixed terrain, massive cornices, wild ice mushrooms, and a steep headwall at 6,000m,” Roberts wrote.

Chance encounter

Wharton and Anderson’s ticklish route. Photo: Facebook


By coincidence, the two climbers ran into an American team consisting of Josh Wharton and Vince Anderson during the ascent. The two Americans had just established their own first ascent on Jirishanca. As we previously reported, many think the team’s new route, Suerte, (or The Italian Route) is the hardest alpine climb in the Cordillera Huayhuash.

“Also wild and lucky to bump into Josh Wharton and Vince Anderson on the summit as they were making the first integral and free ascent of the Italian route ‘Suerte’,” Roberts wrote. “Awesome times in there, and great to share base camp with that whole crew! What a season in the Huayhuash!!”

‘Agua en Marte’

At about the same time, another pair of climbers established a new route in the Cordillera Blanca.

Ignacio Vasquez Palominos and Martin Contreras Ried completed a line on the South Face of Nevados Huascaran (6,768m). It’s Peru’s tallest mountain, so finding a new route is no small accomplishment.

They named the 1,200m route Agua En Marte, or “Water on Mars,” and graded it MD+ WI4 M4.

Palominos said that he felt “happy and grateful” to finalize a project which he’d first looked at a few years ago.

water on mars route

‘Water on Mars’, a new route on Peru’s highest mountain. Photo: Ignacio Vasquez Palominos


Translated from Spanish, Palominos wrote:

“About a week ago we culminated one of our most ambitious sports projects, which aimed to open a new line on the South Face of the seventh highest mountain in America and crown its summit with a descent down the North Face of its South summit.”

The route presented several stiff challenges, Palominos wrote. For example, the climbers once had to bivouac at 6,500m after losing a down jacket in a crevasse. Palominos closed his report by thanking the mountain, calling it Apu — a Quechua word referring to a mountain god.

Ignacio Vasquez Palominos and Martin Contreras Ried established a new route on Nevados Huascaran. Photo: Ignacio Vasquez Palominos.


“Today we give thanks to Apu Huascaran for allowing us to return safe and sound with the conviction that greater and more beautiful things are coming for us,” Palominos wrote.

Lately, beautiful things have indeed come hard and fast to climbers in the Peruvian Andes. In addition to the recent flurry from Palominos et. al, the Hermanos Pou have put together a torrid season, and another team managed the first ascent of the massive east face of Siula Grande.

Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is also a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Medellin, Colombia. When he’s not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he’s hanging out with his dog Campana.