“Dream” Route in Peru


Realizing a 24-year-old dream, Carlos Buhler and Thaddeus Josephson bagged the Northwest Face of Pucahirca Norte (19,836 feet) in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru. Buhler had spotted the line more than two decades ago while trekking in this extremely remote corner of the range; he believes no other routes have been climbed on this side of the Pucahirca group. After days of exploration to locate a dangerous and technical approach to the face, the two spent six “grueling” days climbing mostly 50- to 65-degree ice, with short sections of vertical, wind-twisted ice and bad rock. Several bands of seracs threatened the climb. One pitch below the top, they were trapped for 18 hours by a violent storm, but the next day dawned clear. The the two tagged the summit and made 19 rappels down the face. Buhler, 48, praised his 22-year-old partner, whom he met at home in Bozeman. “He had no idea how much was involved in climbing a route like this,” Buhler said of Josephson. “He rose to the challenge every day and held on with grace.”