Pou brothers and Micher Quito open new route in the Andes: Pisco Sour (640m, 85° M6)

Iker and Eneko Pou, together with the Peruvian Micher Quito, have opened a new alpine-style route on the 5780-meter-high Pisco in the Cordillera Blanca: Pisco Sour (640m, 85° M6). The direct and complex route is probably one of the most difficult on this snow-covered peak.

The Pou Brothers and Micher Quito are a well-rehearsed rope team that has often achieved remarkable first ascents in the northern Andes of Peru. Now the trio has succeeded in opening a new difficult route on Pisco (5780 metres): Pisco Sour (640m, 85° M6).

In a continuous 20-hour push, they climbed from the Refugio Perú at an altitude of 4680 meters to the summit 1100 meters higher.

Rugged glacier, falls and challenging climbing

Eneko Pou remembers: "We started the actual ascent at 7:50 a.m. after a long climb over a large, very jagged and dangerous glacier. We only reached the summit ridge and thus the end of the difficulties at 18:30 p.m."

Pisco Sour offers over 600 meters of difficult ice and mixed climbing. Image: Pou brothers
Pisco Sour offers over 600 meters of difficult ice and mixed climbing. Image: Pou brothers

"At 19:30 p.m., when it was already completely dark, we finally reached the main summit of Pisco - for the second time in a week, after having climbed it a few days earlier via the normal route to acclimatize. In between there were 12 pitches and 640 meters of very demanding ice and mixed climbing that pushed us to our limits."

In one of the difficult sections, both Micher and I fell. Fortunately, there were no serious consequences, although Micher is still limping noticeably.

Eneko Pou

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Fast and easy ascent in alpine style

Iker Pou describes the difficult climb as follows:

"We thought it would be much easier than it actually was. But the little ice we found, combined with loose snow and the size of the wall - 640 metres of climbing - meant that our progress was slow."

In the upper part we entered a labyrinth of huge seracs that seemed endless.

Iker Pou

"When it got dark on the last pitch, there was a moment when I thought we would have to bivouac in the open. But we had no sleeping bags or sleeping mats with us, or a stove to melt snow."

The trio opened their new Pisco Sour route in a 20-hour continuous push. Image: Pou Brothers
The trio opened their new Pisco Sour route in a 20-hour continuous push. Image: Pou Brothers

"Our plan was to go easy so that we could do the climb in one day, but as night fell, our plans seemed to change. Fortunately, Eneko reached the summit ridge shortly afterwards and came out of the vertical. We screamed with joy, just as we did 1100 meters below in the refuge, where our ascent was being followed by radio."

Ascent into the unknown: The Pou brothers and Micher Quito on the first ascent of Pisco Sour. Image: Pou brothers
Ascent into the unknown: The Pou brothers and Micher Quito on the first ascent of Pisco Sour. Image: Pou brothers

Rescue is still in the bones

Although Pisco is said to offer one of the best views in the entire mountain range, by 19:30 p.m. it was too dark to see anything. From the summit, the trio descended to the refugio, exhausted, hungry and thirsty, eager to escape the clutches of the mountain.

"It was supposed to be a relatively easy climb to complete our acclimatization process. Now we have – almost unintentionally – achieved one of our best climbs in this mountain range," said the Pou brothers.

The heavily rugged and dangerous glacier in the lower part of the route. Photo: Pou brothers
The heavily rugged and dangerous glacier in the lower part of the route. Photo: Pou brothers

"We can assure you that it was not easy, because in addition to all the technical aspects we have described, we had to fight against our own thoughts. And these turned out to be our worst enemy."

A few days ago we rescued the lifeless body of our Italian companion Tomas Franchini from Cashan at 5686 meters. We risked our own lives to bring him back to his loved ones.

the Pou brothers

"With everything we went through there, we weren't at our best emotionally. But we managed to overcome it, and that's the important thing."

Route from Pisco Sour (640m, 85°, M6). Photo: Pou brothers
Route from Pisco Sour (640m, 85°, M6). Photo: Pou brothers

The Pou brothers' expedition in the Peruvian Andes is not over yet, so it will be interesting to see what adventure they will announce next.

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Credits: Cover picture the Pou brothers

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