Siula Grande is an awe-inspiring mountain located in the Peruvian Andes. Rising to a towering 20,814 ft above sea level, this majestic peak is one of the highest mountains in Peru, and it attracts adventurers from all around the world. Siula Grande is renowned for its vast glaciers, rugged terrain, and stunning vistas, making it a must-see for any outdoor enthusiast.
In this blog post, we'll explore the history, geography, and beauty of Siula Grande and its surrounding area.
Siula Grande Facts
Siula Grande is a majestic mountain located in the Peruvian Andes, specifically in the Huayhuash Mountain Range. It rises to an impressive altitude of 6,344 meters (20,814 feet) and offers one of the most challenging and beautiful climbs in the world.
The mountain is surrounded by three glaciers, which create a unique landscape. Its rocky cliffs and summits provide panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and nearby mountains, making it an ideal spot for climbers. The mountain was first climbed in 1936 via the North Ridge by Arnold Awerzger and Erwin Schneider, Austrian climbers.
Siula Grande is a popular destination for both novice and experienced climbers. The standard route to the summit is relatively straightforward and not technically demanding, although extreme weather conditions, strong winds, and loose rock can make the climb more dangerous.
The most common dangers on Siula Grande are crevasses and rockfalls. Avalanches are also a risk in certain areas, particularly during the winter months when the snow and ice can be unstable.
As a result, climbers need to exercise caution and preparation when attempting to climb Siula Grande. Those who do choose to make the suila grande climb should have experience with alpine terrain and self-rescue techniques.
The mountaineering history of Siula Grande dates back to the 1930s when it was first climbed by Austrians Erwin Schneider and Arnold Awerzger in 1936.
30 years later, the impressive North Ridge was climbed in addition to Siula Chico, a forbiddable sub-peak by Obster, Schulz, and Manfred Sturm. Since, new routes have been established regularly, like "Southern Discomfort" on the south face by Michel van der Spek, Jay Burbee, and Jeremy Frimer and "Avoiding the Touch" in 1999 by Mark Price and Carlos Buhler.
Since then, Siula Grande has become a popular climbing destination for mountain enthusiasts, attracting climbers from all around the world.
In 1982, American mountaineer Joe Simpson, and his partner Simon Yates, attempted to make an ascent of the unclimbed West Face of Siula Grande and succeeded. On the descent, Joe Simpson suffered a terrifying ordeal that was chronicled in his famous novel Touching the Void.
Since then, there have been several more successful ascents of Siula Grande, making it one of the most sought-after climbing destinations in the Andes.
The mountain Siula Grande stands at a lofty 6,344 meters and is located in the Peruvian Andes within the Huayhuash mountain range. It is one of the tallest mountains in the Americas. The Suila Grande climb is considered one of the most demanding climbs in South America and is made up of eight different routes.
The mountain's western flank is bordered by an ice wall that has both vertical and overhanging sections. These features combine to make the climb quite challenging. While the lower portion of Siula Grande Mountain consists mostly of moraines, scree, and moraine-covered ice, the upper section includes numerous crevasses and large snow fields.
Flora and Fauna
Siula Grande is known for its unique flora and fauna. The mountain lies within the Quechua region of Peru, where a wide variety of plants and animals can be found. There are many species of birds that can be seen around Suila Grande, including the Andean cock-of-the-rock, the Andean condor, and the Andean lapwing. In addition, numerous species of mammals, including foxes, deer, and even pumas, can be spotted in the region.
The vegetation around Siula Grande is dominated by the Chachacomo shrub, which provides food and shelter to many animals. In addition, there are several species of flowers and cacti in the area. Many of these plants have medicinal properties and have been used by locals for centuries.
When climbers embark on a Siula Grande climb, they will also have the opportunity to observe various types of reptiles, amphibians, and insects that inhabit the mountain.
The climate of Siula Grande is incredibly diverse. As one climbs the mountain, the air temperature changes dramatically. At the base of the mountain, temperatures are mild and comfortable. However, as one ascends the altitude, temperatures drop significantly.
On average, the temperature at the summit of Siula Grande is below freezing. Furthermore, snow and ice are common sights during the colder months of the year. The Andes region is known for its high winds and storms, so climbers should be aware that Suila Grande mountain can be unpredictable.
During the summer months, Siula Grande offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. Temperatures are mild, and rainfall is common. Summer is considered the best time to climb Suila Grande due to the milder weather conditions. Although the temperatures are more pleasant during the summer, there is still a chance of sudden downpours, making it necessary to be prepared for changing weather conditions.
Dangers and Deaths
Climbing Siula Grande is no small feat, and it comes with a wide range of dangers. In fact, the mountain is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world, outranked only by a few mountains in Nepal.
In recent years, the mountain has seen an influx of climbers who are drawn to its massive size and beautiful views. However, these climbers must remain aware of the many potential risks that come with a Siula Grande climb.
The mountain is known for its steep and exposed terrain, which can make it difficult to traverse, especially in wet weather or bad snow conditions. Avalanches are another hazard that climbers must consider when attempting a Siula Grande mountain ascent. The mountain has also been known to experience severe storms and high winds, making the climb even more dangerous.
Over the years, dozens of climbers have died while attempting a Siula Grande ascent. Overall, Siula Grande is a beautiful mountain, but its dangers should not be taken lightly. Climbers must take all necessary precautions and be aware of the risks involved before attempting to ascend this majestic mountain in the Peruvian Andes.
Joe Simpson and Touching the Void
In 1985, British climber Joe Simpson made a successful summit of Siula Grande, a majestic mountain in the Peruvian Andes, via the unclimbed West Face with his partner, Simon Yates. Little did he know his climb up the mountain would inspire an incredible story of courage and survival, recounted in his bestselling mountaineering novel Touching the Void.
In the book, Simpson recounts his near-fatal journey down Siula Grande after a disastrous accident left him and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, stranded on the mountain. Through a daring feat of will and perseverance, Simpson managed to crawl and climb his way down the mountain despite life-threatening injuries. The journey was so treacherous that Simon assumed his friend had lost his life in what should've been a deadly fall into a crevasse.
Simpson eventually reached safety, but not before he had undergone an unimaginable ordeal. Touching the Void became an international bestseller and was later adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film. To this day, Simpson’s story continues to fascinate and challenge the imagination of climbers and readers alike.