In the easily accessible, though poorly visited, Rurec Valley of the Cordillera Blanca, a group of Italians has added two more big rock routes to what some are describing as Peru's Yosemite Valley.
In mid May Andrea Di Donato, Roberto Iannilli and Ivo Scappatura completed El Sueño de los Excluidos on the South East Face of a previously unclimbed rock spire.
The route features 1,440m of climbing, initially on slabs to a wooded amphitheatre, followed by a fine arête. Difficulties were around 6b+ and A2, and three bivouacs were needed.
At more or less the same time, and after following the same 300m of slabs to the amphitheatre, Luca D'Andrea and Massimo Massimiano moved left onto the South Face and climbed directly for 500m to the summit.
They named the climb La Teoría de la gota de Agua (6a+ and A2+). Although this route was shorter, its south-facing aspect made it rather more wintry. Four bivouacs were necessary.
Both climbs reached a pointed 5,040m summit that the Italians are proposing to name Punta Giampiero Capoccia.
Although it appears as an isolated mountain from the valley, Punta Capoccia is actually just a point on a long ridge running south east from Nevado Shaqsha (5,703m), topping out below the Shaqsha Glacier.
The Rurec Valley lies in the Huantsan Massif, close to Huaraz, and despite several visits over the last 13 years, the 'Catedrals de Rurec' still offer great potential for big wall climbing.
Iannilli first visited it in 2001, when he put up the 23-pitch Hasta Luego Zorro (7a and A3+) on a c4,800m non-glaciated granite tower named Punta Numa.
This tower had first been climbed, and named, in 1997 by the Spanish pair, Eloy Callado and César Pedrochi, who put up the 750m route, Monttrek, over 13 days at 6c and A4-. Monttrek was the first big wall route reported in the Rurec.
Two of the famous Gallego brothers from Spain visited the valley in 2003 and put up the 21-pitch Caravaca Jubilar at 7a and A4 on an unnamed summit
Ianilli returned in 2005 and with Giulio Canti put up Libertad es Partecipacion (1,600m of climbing but only 600m of difficulties: 6c+ and A2) on the wall immediately left of the corner system that separates Punta Numa from Punta Ayudin (c4,700m).
At the same time a group of Spaniards established the 650m Dominguero Vertical (6b and A2) on the North West Face of Punta Ayudin, immediately left of Punta Numa. All these walls lie on the flanks of Cerro Pumahuagangan (5,138m)
While the rock quality is generally excellent, the relatively low altitude means that it can also be lichen-covered and dirty, and cracks will often need cleaning of vegetation.
The photo shows Punta Giampiero Capoccia with the red line, El Sueño de los Excluidos and the blue, La Teoría de la gota de Agua.
Thanks to Roberto Iannilli for help with this report