Recipients of The North Face Adventure Grant 2016, Steve Skelton and Ben Dare, left for Peru in late May with three objectives in the Cordillera Blanca mountains of Peru. Their objectives included the southwest ridge of Chacraraju from the Paron Valley, the central couloir of Caraz II and a new line of rock and ice on the Taulliraju east face.

2016 Adventure Grant - Steve Skelton and Ben Dare ready for their Departure for Peru

To get themselves ready for their expedition in Peru, Skelton and Dare had been on a steady training program for several months. Along with a weekly schedule of runs, weighted hikes, dry tooling, bouldering and gym sessions, they had been building their skills and honing their partnership in the mountains.

Prior to departure, Steve Skelton shared, ‘Our training has hardened our bodies and we are getting comfortable at moving quickly in the mountains. The wrinkles in our gear, systems and communication are being ironed out. We know in Peru we will have other variables that we are not so familiar with, like new vegetation, weather patterns and altitude. The three first ascents we completed this summer in New Zealand have fed the desire to explore more and to continue training ourselves and strengthening our skills until our departure date.’

As it turns out, the duo did suffer some variables with weather patterns in the mountains on their first two objectives. While they did not achieve their goals on Chacraraju or Caraz II, together they climbed a new route on the southeast face of Caraz IV (5610m). On his own Ben Dare climbed a new route on the southwest face of Pirámide (5885m) while Steve Skelton climbed the classic original route on the Esfinge (The Sphinx) (5325m). Although they didn’t reach their first two objectives, they left happy with their achievements and took off for the Santa Cruz Valley with thoughts on their main objective – establishing a new route on Taulliraju.

2016 Adventure Grant - Ben dare digging for solid ice on the first of many abseils off the summit down the southeast ridge shot by Steve Skelton

PHOTO: Ben dare digging for solid ice on the first of many abseils off the summit and down the southeast ridge of Taulliraju, shot by Steve Skelton.

Steve Skelton reported on Friday June 24, once he returned to a healthier elevation level, that the team had achieved their third objective, and the mission on Taulliraju had been a success.

Over 4 days we climbed a great new route on Tauliraju in the best style. Our route is committing, fun, hard and finishes directly on the summit! We’re both elated the mountain opened itself to us.’ – Steve Skelton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There will be more updates from their expedition and specifics on the route upon their return to New Zealand. The North Face would like to congratulate Steve Skelton and Ben Dare for their efforts and achievements. Applications are now open for The North Face Adventure Grant 2017. Find out how to apply here

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PHOTOS: Steve Skelton