Quitaraju from NE (Quitaraju-Alpamayo Col, 5400m)

Quitaraju 6036m

A broad peak located next to the well-known Alpamayo. Nowadays, the most frequented route on Quitaraju is its north face. However, the west ridge provides a great airy ridge ascent with outstandig views. All other routes are very rarely climbed. The summit provides excellent views onto Alpamayo and Santa Cruz. 


W ridge via Quitaraju-Abasraju Col

The west ridge provides a great and long mountaineering adventure. The climb is never really difficult, but due to its continued exposure, it requires alertness and an adequate good physical condition of the climber. It is comparable to alpine routes such as the Bluemlisalphorn traverse, with the key passage being significantly more difficult. Of note is that the easiest way down the mountain is by climbing down the west ridge.
Fast climbers can climb Quitaraju from the high camp by the west ridge and descent on the same day to the base camp. 

Note: Due to the climate changes, the difficulties can vary largely from year to year. 

7-8h from the Quitaraju-Alpamayo Col Camp at 5400m, 3-4h for the descent.
From the Col Camp, first head towards Alpamayo to gain the lower glacier plateau, about 5300m. Now walk to the Quitaraju-Abasraju Col, ca. 5500m, 1.5 hours from the col. 
From the col, climb the ramp on the left that allows to gain a large plateau above the first serac zone. The ramp climbs left of the rock wall below large seracs. From the plateau, head towards the ridge. Bypass a short wall right of an active serac zone. Avoid the left side since it is exposed to ice fall. From here, several ways exist to gain the ridge. We found it easiest to first go right, negotiating some crevasses, then climb the 50 wall to the ridge directly. Allow 2.5 hours from the col to the ridge.
The ridge is first broad and easy, but soon narrowes, thereby forming large cornices. The south side is in general less steep, but will often consist of deep unconsolidated snow. A short but steep section leads to the key passage, notably the false summit. A good belay on ice screws can be found at the root of the huge serac forming the false summit. A steep traverse (5m 70) diagonally to the left allows to gain the 55 north side of the false summit. Climb the false summit in one long (60m) or two short (30m) pitches. Belay is with snow stakes.
From the false summit, the knife-blade ridge leads horizontally on the middle summit. This very exposed part of the ridge requires belays on snow stakes and great alertness. From the middle summit, the ridge broadens. The main summit is easily climbed on its north side. Allow at least 2 hours for the ridge.

Time: 7-8h from the col camp.

Descent: same. The key passage is negotiated by abseiling on snow stakes, 1x60m or 2x30m.


1. The upper N slopes are up to 50 steep and allow to gain the W-ridge.

2. Key passage and false summit.

3. Upper part of the west ridge.