View of Nevado Huascarán Sur from Callejón de Huaylas
|Elevation||6,768 m (22,205 ft)|
|Prominence||2,776 m (9,108 ft)|
|Listing||Country high point
|Age of rock||Tertiary|
|First ascent||July 20, 1932|
|Easiest route||glacier/snow/ice climb|
Huascarán (Spanish pronunciation: [waskaˈɾan]) or Nevado Huascarán is a mountain in the Peruvian province of Yungay, situated in the Cordillera Blanca range of the western Andes. The highest southern summit of Huascarán (Huascarán Sur) is the highest point in Peru, and in all of the Earth's Tropics. Huascarán is the fourth highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere after Aconcagua, Ojos del Salado, and Monte Pissis. The mountain was named after Huáscar, a 16th-century Inca chieftain who was the Sapa Inca of the Inca empire.
Huascarán gives its name to Huascarán National Park which surrounds it, and is a popular location for trekking and mountaineering. Huascarán is normally climbed from the village of Musho to the west via a high camp in the col that separates the two summits, known as La Garganta. The ascent normally takes 5–7 days, the main difficulties being the large crevasses that often block the route. The normal route is of moderate difficulty and rated between PD and AD (depending on the conditions of the mountain) according to the International French Adjectival System. Other more challenging routes to the summit exist, such as on the west face.
The summit of Huascarán is the place on Earth with the smallest gravitational force.
The summit was first reached in July 1932 by a joint German–Austrian expedition. The north peak (Huascarán Norte) had previously been climbed in 1908 by a U.S. expedition that included Annie Smith Peck.
In 1989, a group of eight amateur mountaineers, the "Social Climbers", held what was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records (1990 edition) to be "the world's highest dinner party" on top of the mountain, as documented by Chris Darwin and John Amy in their book The Social Climbers, and raised £10,000 for charity.
On 31 May 1970, the Ancash earthquake caused a substantial part of the north side of the mountain to collapse. The avalanche mass, an estimated 80 million cubic feet of ice, mud and rock, was about half a mile wide and a mile long. It advanced about 11 miles (18 km) at an average speed of 280 to 335 km per hour burying the towns of Yungay and Ranrahirca under ice and rock, killing more than 20,000 people. At least 20,000 people were also killed in Huaraz, site of a 1941 avalanche which killed over 6000 (see Palcacocha Lake). Estimates suggest that the earthquake killed over 66,000 people.
Also buried by an avalanche was a Czechoslovak mountaineering team, none of whose 15 members was ever seen again. This and other earthquake-induced avalanche events are often described incorrectly as "eruptions" of Huascarán, which is not of volcanic origin.
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- Helman, Adam (2005). The Finest Peaks: Prominence and Other Mountain Measures. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-4120-5995-4. On the other hand Biggar gives 6,746 metres.
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- Sacred mountains: Myth and Morphology
- ALEXANDER E. GATES; DAVID RITCHIE (2006). ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EARTHQUAKES AND VOLCANOES. Infobase Publishing. p. 110.
- Rob Rachowiecki; Charlotte Beech (2004). Peru. Lonely Planet. p. 308.
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- "1962: Thousands killed in Peru landslide". British Broadcasting Corporation. 1962-01-11. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
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