Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Climbs featured in ALPINIST

Climbs featured in DRYTOOLING blog (polish)

100 miles ride for the Diabetes Cure

Team Red Smash
I signed up initially for the 55miles ride. But after the 15 mile water break, I lost my group. I ended up riding by myself, ahead of the 55 miles group and at the queue of the 100 miles group. At the 55 miles turn back point, I was feeling very good and decided to go for the 100 miles ride. It was a great ride, people was fantastic. And it allowed me to discover New Jersey: Piermont, NYACK … it was beautiful …
Sophie after her 100 miles ride

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Climbs featured in NUESTRAMONTANA (spanish)

Pisco/Artesonraju Climbs - featured in MONTANISMO (spanish)

Viernes 05 de marzo de 2010. Núm. 271 Resumen de la temporada 2009 en los Andes peruanos El Pisco (5,752) es la montaña más ascendida de la Cordillera Blanca debido a su espectacular vista de cumbre y relativa facilidad. Sin embargo posee otras rutas de mucha dificultad, como la pared sur (MD), donde los montañistas Beto Pinto y la Francesa Sophie Denis, realizaron una variante de la ruta Francesa de 1977, haciendo una travesía a fin de evitar los seracs colgantes de la arista. Encontraron zonas de roca y hielo con inclinaciones de hasta 90 grados antes de salir a la cumbre. La misma pareja se dirige al Artesonraju (6,034), que a finales del 2008 sufrió un gigantesco desprendimiento en su cara suroeste que ya se ha recuperado parcialmente. Ambos realizan un intento por la cara noreste, donde encuentran nieve suelta e inestable, peligros de avalanchas y enormes grietas que surcaron hasta unos 150 m antes de la cumbre. http://montanismo.org/articulos.php?id_sec=15&id_art=2946

Climb featured in URBAN CLIMBER magazine

Climb featured in CLIMBING.com

Expedition REPORT


Alpine Glow on the Central Range

Suiricocha, Manon Dos and Vicuñita is one of the peaks in the Central Range, located in Lima’s Region. Despite of the first ascend was in 1964 by a German expedition, this region of the Andeans remains in our days pretty remote and unexplored. The Central Range offers you nice mix climbing walls, and multi-pitches technical faces. This area is perfect experienced climbers who enjoy technical climbs in the 5000m altitude range.

Routes opened by Sophie Denis and Beto Pinto

SUIRICOCHA (5,495 m.a.s.l)
  • Approach: We left San Mateo for the Rio Blanco to Paccha Lake. The next day at 8am, we carried our climbing gear and equipment up to the Moraine Camp (3 hours),
  • Route: The 3rd day, we left the Moraine Camp at 3am to climb Suiricocha North Face. The approach was longer than expected, as we have to cross a hard ice glacier, fairly active, with numerous crevasses. Then to save some time, we start climbing the first 3 pitches of the face together in Assembly style. Snow getting loose at pitch 4th, we start climbing with protection around 6am. Then we enjoyed a nice hard snow from pitches 5th to 7th, which allow us to a set up a fast climbing pace. The first 2 pitches of the face have an angle ~ 60 º, the 5 following pitches are a little steeper ~70º. The wall finish by a steep section made of broken hard ice, lots of loose rocks and a little shelter with an angle > 80°. That very psychological last pitch is the most difficult part of the climb and it sets up the route difficulty level. We summit at 8:30. The view is stunning.
  • Descent: We made 8 rappels for the same route. We were out of the glacier by noon and after a lunch break, we arrived at our camp at 3pm.
MANON DOS (5,500 m.a.s.l)

  • West Face
  • Mix Terrain with loose snow, big snow plates, few big horizontal crevasses. Angle up to 90 º. The poor snow condition makes the route very difficult (MD+)
  • First ascent: June 4, 2010 by climbers Sophie Denis & Beto Pinto
  • Name of the route: “Beyond Survival”
  • Elevation: 800m from moraine camp (4,700 m.a.s.l), to the summit (5,500 m.a.s.l)
  • Grade: MD+ 280m 60°- 70°- 80°- 90°
  • Equipment: 2 rope (60m), 2 Ice axes, 4 Snow pickets, 3 ice screws, rock gear, 5 friends , 8 stoppers and 5 pitons.
  • Time: 02 days
Climb quick sum up:
  • Approach: After a rest day, we left the Moraine Camp at 3am on the 5th day to climb Manon Dos West Face. We left our climbing gear at the bottom of the glacier the previous day. The approaches consist in crossing a fairly long glacier made of hard ice with numerous crevasses. Those crevasses are relatively thin, so beside the stressful crevasse cracking/popping noise when walking on the glacier, this phase is pretty straightforward. Nevertheless, the lack of safe place to rest due to the possible rock falls and active crevasses terrain, make that phase a little long and tiring. Then you have to kick hard the ice to climb the bottom of the Moraine made of hard blue ice with lose rocks. Once you passed it, you will walk on a flat part (max angle of 30 º) to reach the bottom of the face. Watch out to the rock falls.
  • Route: We start our first pitch at 5am by crossing a bergschrund, then face got steepen reaching rapidly an angle of 80º -90º. Good snow conditions deteriorate drastically as we found unexpected snow plates. That slow us down a lot as we have now to deal with high risk of avalanches. The 3rd pitch is even more difficult as we discover giant crevasses with very loose snow bridges. Snow and ice conditions were not really good to put descent anchors. We experienced as well small mushrooms which were hanging. But those were not a difficulty beside of they are avalanches’ sensitive. Once you pass the hedge of the top of face, it is a walk to the summit with an angle between 30 º to 60 º. We summit at 8:30am. The 2nd and 3rd pitches were really time consuming as unexpected hazard keeps popping up along the climb.
  • Descent: We rappel the same route. To have enough snow pickets (2) for our next climb, our goal was leaving 2 snow pickets and 1 old ice crew behind us. To do so, we had to be creative. We used Bollard for the 2 first rappels as the snow was hard and slope angle appropriate. Then we used 2 snow pickets for the next 2 other rappels. For our last rappel, we put a piton in a nice rock block with good rock quality. Then, we down climbed to the bottom of the face, then to the bottom the Moraine. We arrived at the glacier ~11am, ice was still good, not too many pools. We were out of the glacier by noon and after a lunch break, we arrived at our camp at 3pm.
VICUÑITA (5,538 m.a.s.l)

  • West Face
  • Mix Terrain with loose and deep snow, snow plates, 2 big horizontal crevasses, loose rocks and channel made of rocks & hard ice. Angle up to 90º. Passing that channel required experience in mix climbing and makes the route very difficult (MD+)
  • First ascent: June 6, 2010 by climbers Beto Pinto & Sophie Denis
  • Name of the route: “Sacred Ayahuasca”
  • Elevation: 838m from moraine camp (4,700 m.a.s.l), to the summit (5,538 m.a.s.l)
  • Grade: MD+ 380m 60° - 90°- 70° - 60°
  • Equipment: 2 rope (60m), 2 Ice axes, 2 Snow pickets, 3 ice screws, rock gear, 5 friends , 5 stoppers and 3 pitons
  • Time: 02 days
Climb quick sum up:
  • Approach: After a rest day, we left the Moraine Camp at 3am on the 6th day to climb Vicuñita West Face. The approach was consisting in crossing the moraine, made of lose rock and crossing a small glacier made of hard ice with obvious horizontal crevasses. This phase is pretty straight forward and should have been fast but Sophie was sick and had some difficulties of breathing. We arrive a the bottom of the face at 5am.
  • Route: To safe time we climbed together in the Assembly style almost 2 pitches. Snow was loose; angle was up to 60 º for the last meters before reaching the bottom of channel. The rock was perfect to set a nice anchor. We start climbing the channel at 5:30am. Rock in the channel was a little loose but the hard ice was perfect to grab enough support / resistance to climb. It is a very enjoyable pitch made of pure mix climbing followed by a hard ice 90º section. Then, once you arrived at the top of the hedge of the face, you walk to the summit on a slope with an angle of 25 º to 45 º. Good snow condition. We noticed that the hanging mushroom had a big crack, so watch out.. We summit at 7:30am. Views are breath taking, and climbing the channel is real hard core climbing which makes you feel good. Paccha route: As we were feeling good, we decided to walk along the whole ridge to Paccha summit. (Snow melts pretty fast with the sun, so it seems better to be out of it by ~10am.)
  • Descent: We descent Paccha via the normal route. We arrived at the bottom of the glacier ~10am, ice was hard. We got a lunch then we went down the Moraine to the base camp. We change base camp from Moraine Camp to Paccha lake base camp. We arrived at our camp at 1pm.

We are gpoing home happy - looking forward our next in July

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Welcome to Peru !

The French Peruvian team opened 3 new routes in the Central Range in Peru, located in Lima’s Region. In a single push, Sophie Denis and Beto Pinto opened 3 new direct lines of a difficulty level MD+.
View from Base Camp of the 3 New Routes Opened by Sophie Denis & Beto Pinto

The team climbed in a week, the North face of Suiricocha (5,495m), 9 pitches wall which finished by a little shelter with an angle > 80° made of broken hard ice and lots of loose rocks.
North Face of Suiricocha

Then, they climbed the West Face of Manon Dos (5,500m), short wall ~3 pitches with 70º -90º angle. Very sensitive face to climb mainly due to the poor snow condition with high risk of avalanched due to numerous snow plates, giant crevasses before the shoulder and high risk of rock falls.
Sophie Denis climbing - at the shoulder of Manon Dos
Then, they finished their expedition by climbing the West face of Vicunita (5,538m), 7 pitches wall which require climbing a 60m technical channel made of rocks covered partially with the hard ice with a 90º angle.
Vicunita - route open is on the left via the ice channel

The 3 routes opened offers very nice mix climbing walls, and multi-pitches technical faces. Those climbs would be very enjoyable for experienced climbers who enjoy technical climbs in mix terrain with strong angle in the 5,000m altitude range.
View by night of the range from base camp

We are going home happy !
Sophie Denis with Mirabelle

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Successful Climbing Trip

Central Range climbing trip
Climbers: Sophie Denis and Beto Pinto

Climb the North Face of Suiricocha peak
Climb the West Face of Manon peak

Climb the West Face of Vicunita peak

Traverse and Climb of Paccha Peak

Suiricocha North Face Climb

Suiricocha North Face Climb Open the new route : Everything Is Possible
1/ The approach
The approach to the glacier was a mess. To reach the glacier either we go down the moraine or up the moraine then go down. We decide to go up but there was no way to go down, it was very steep cliffs. So we turn back, and go down the moraine. The way was clear. Our last obstacle was to find a way to cross a river. It did not take us too much time so we had been lucky. We reach the glacier at 4:25 am. We spend more than an hour which put us right away behind schedule. Once you reach the glacier, you put on harness and crampons.
2/ The glacier traverse
The glacier part is the approach to your face that you will climb. Glacier are tricky due to the numerous crevasses. From the distance this glacier does not seem too active, pretty flat, and we expected not difficulty. Unfortunately, the glacier was nest of crevasses, it felt like if you were in the middle of a eggs field, which indeed you will smash eggs at any steps.This glacier is full of crevasses in every possible way, it was dark, we could not see anything. So we start walking pretty slowly which made even more behind schedule. The freaky part was the big noise of the crevasses cracking under your steps. So it was nothing like relaxing to traverse that glacier.
3/ Climb
Snow was in excellent condition. We both felt very strong, and very confident. So we start our climb by climbing together, just linked to each other. It was feeling really good, that we climbed like that more half of the face. A smooth, efficient climbing. Sun start shining, it was around 7am. Angle was between 45 to 80degree. So far the climb was pretty straight forward. Then we approached to the final part which includes climbing a channel. We decide to go that way when we prepare our climb the day before. This part was a little more tricky as it required to rock climb, with ice axe and crampons.Per safety we used snow pickets.
4/ Fake Summit Unfortunately, that summit was a fake summit. When we looked up we saw a big rock that we assumed was summit. Beto decided to try to turn around the big rock to see if there is a snow channel that we can used. When you are opening a route you have a rough idea of the way you want to go but there is still a high level of uncertainty of what you gonna find. That is why you need to explore. In that case, Beto had been successful in his exploration and find a way to the summit made of broken hard ice and rocks. This very last part is very psychological.
5/ Summit
We arrived at summit at 9am. We climbed the 8/9 pitches face very fast, in about 3h. The view is stunning. There is no word to express this beauty. The sky color range was from almost white to blue. It was beautiful. We rest a little, eat, take pictures, then go down. 6/Climbed down We went down straightway. Rappel was good. But we had to go down fast until we find a safe place. Because on our way up, we broke big piece of hard ice which if they fall could create either avalanche or rock fall. We did not have enough snow pickets, so we down climbed for a short time. We both felt very strong so it was very fine. (you do not use protection when you down climb so you are more exposed) 7/ safe place We rest, eat, relax. We were at the beginning of the glacier 8/ glacier traverse With the day light we can really appreciate the size of the crevasse. Once again this phase was delicate. We saw some lack in the glacier as deep as 40ish meters. At one point we had to wak on the ridge of 2 giant crevasses. I was not really happy about it. The rescue technique was jumping in the other side. So if I fall in crevasse a. Beto will jump in crevasse b. 9/ back to base camp