Two New Routes in the Andes and Two Teams Head to Siula Grande

Spanish rock climbers Eneko and Iker Pou, together with Peruvian Huaracino Micher Quito, have opened two new routes in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. The first ascents of Hanan Pacha (90° snow, 425m) and Emmoa (M6, 75°, 640m) in the range’s little-explored Urus Oeste group, represent the culmination of years of prospecting.

Three tiny climbers stand on the top of Urus mountain in Peru on a clear day.

On the top of Urus, Andes. Photo: Pou Brothers

A fresh line

The Urus form a long chain with three main peaks: Urus East (climbed most often because it has an easily accessible normal route), Urus Central (little frequented by climbers), and Urus West (a peak with very few ascents). The latter is surrounded by several independent spires that exceed 5,000m and are very difficult to climb.

The climbers had first noticed the Urus Oeste massif in 2021. This year they got down to business. It took six hours of walking to reach their base camp, at roughly 4,900m, at the foot of the glacier.

A climber moves up a snow gully on Urus.

A view of the climbers on Urus. Photo: Pou Brothers

 

The three-man team began to ascend at dawn in freezing temperatures. It took over eight hours to reach the top of Urus West (5,450m) via a steep snow-packed gully. They named the new route Hanan Pacha (90° snow, 425m), in honor of the ancient Inca gods.

The new route shown up a snow gully on the mountain.

The new route, Hanan Pacha. Photo: Pou Brothers

 

During the climb, a loose ice shard carved a chunk out of Eneko’s nose. But overall, the climb went smoothly.

Climber Eneko Pou takes a selfie with a bloody nose after being hit by falling ice.

Eneko Pou after being hit by a piece of ice. Photo: Pou Brothers

A second new route

The next day they continued exploring and decided to climb Urus West III (5,270m).

After seven hours climbing vertical ice couloirs that cut through this spectacular granite wall, they reached the top. They named this new route Emmoa (M6, 75°, 640m), in honor of a Basque mountain museum. It is probably the first ascent of this tower.

The new route on Urus West III up a mixture of rock and ice.

The new route on Urus West III. Photo: Pou Brothers

 

“We are very happy with this exploration of the Urus…not even in our wildest dreams would we have imagined such an expedition beginning,” the Pou Brothers wrote after the climb.

Emmoa and Hanan Pacha join their other recent contribution to the Cordillera Blanca, the challenging rock route Aupa Gasteiz (7c+/160m) in the Llaca Valley.

East face of Siula Grande, Andes

As we reported last week, an Italian team wants to open a new route on the east face of Siula Grande (6,344m) in the Andes.

Over the past few days, Matteo Della Bordella, Stefano Cordaro, Filip Babitz, Alessandro Zeni, and Marco Majori have acclimatized in Hatun Machay and Inka Wakanka, climbing walls at more than 4,300m. They are now heading to their Siula Grande base camp.

We probably won’t hear from them again until the expedition is over.

A collage of photos showing Italian climbers training on rock faces near Siula Grande.

The Italian team acclimatized in the Huaraz region before heading to Siula Grande. Photo: Alessandro Zeni/Matteo Della Bordella

 

A second team is also heading to the east face

Catalan climbers Marc Toralles and Bru Busom are also heading to Siula Grande. They are returning to finish a project they started three years ago. Previously, they could not top out due to rockfall, climbing only half of their proposed route.

A half-finished new climbing route is drawn onto a steep granite wall.

A new route on the east face of Siula Grande was started three years ago by Marc Toralles and partners. Photo: Marc Toralles

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.