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Artesonraju, 2005

Two mountaineers navigating a glacier on a Gasherbrum II Expedition

The 2005 “Alpamayo and Quitaraju” Team did us proud this season. When we realized that Alpamayo was not climbable (a massive cornice overhung the SW face routes), we set a very ambitious plan for the group – acclimatize quickly on Tocllaraju and then make an attempt on the massive face of Artesonraju! We already posted a dispatch on our climb of Tocllaraju, a great day with the whole team summiting together. It was exactly what we needed to go into Artesonraju confident and strong.

And we certainly needed both for our climb. Our summit push began with a 10pm wakeup call. We spent the first 4 hours crossing a dry glacier and then climbing steeply to the bergshrund below the main face. By the time we reached the face, it was snowing hard, and the wind was blowing consistently at 30 mph with stronger gusts. But all of us felt strong, and Jaime had somehow used his internal radar to find a good spot to cross the bergshrund.

And then began the work – the route turned out to consist of 18 pitches of two-tool ice and snow climbing. David, Steve, and Jaime ended up making the tough decision to turn around ¾ of the way up the face, feeling that the weather and their energy levels made it unsafe to continue. Joe, Larry, and I continued pushing, and the weather cleared enough for us to keep going “just one more pitch”. After 14 hours of climbing, we stood on top…in a complete whiteout. There were no views for us today. But the climbing was incredible, regardless!

But we had a lot more work to go. It took another 7 hours to rappel the 18 pitches and then climb out across the glacier. Our round-trip was 21.5 hours of solid climbing! It was a proud, proud day.

Again, thanks to all of our climbers – Joe, Larry, David, and Steve. We look forward to climbing more big peaks with you!
-Jaime A. and Adrian B.