Andes, Quitaraju: “I may never climb such a difficult and dangerous mountain again” says Yudai Suzuki


From June 25 to 29, 2024, Japanese climbers Keisuke Ohkura, Kazumasa Ostubo and Yudai Suzuki made the first ascent of Dream House (1200m, M6, AI5+, A2, R/X, VI) on the south face of Quitaraju, 6036 m, in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca.

Quitaraju is a sought-after jewel in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca. Its original route, opened in 1936, was the work of an Austrian team, and its north face is regularly climbed. It’s on the south face that the Japanese team has ventured, and this is only the third time a team has climbed Quitaraju on this side. The two previous teams are not the least important, since the first to attempt it was the Slovenian team of Slavko Svetičič and Žarko Trušnovec in 1986, Svetičič being one of the best mountaineers of his generation, and opener of Manitua (solo) on the Grandes Jorasses.

In 2002, the British team of Nick Bullock and Al Powell opened the right face (and the Slovenian route on the left). The new Japanese route of 2024 climbs the central spur from the bottom, apparently abandoned by the British team who climbed the serac zone on the right. As for the upper part of this southern spur, and a fortiori the final SE ridge, it may be common to both routes, or close of each.

©Coll. Yudai Suzuki

©Coll. Yudai Suzuki

Keisuke Ohkura, Kazumasa Ostubo and Yudai Suzuki climbed up the central spur from the bottom, climbing the face at the cost of a bivouac, then a second arrival on the SE ridge. Here, the complex glacial terrain required a third bivouac before reaching the summit. Yudai Suzuki explains: “The route has over 30 pitches, none of which are easy to climb. I thought we’d be able to speed up once we’d crossed the technical south face on the first day, but the crux of the climb was the whole ridge beyond, which looked like Godzilla’s back.”

Marked by the difficulty and dangerousness of the ridge, Yudai elaborates, “When we felt discouraged about having reached a dead end, we were lucky to find ice tunnels that miraculously exist across the ridge. I also fell 15 m in the 90° snow-ice section at 5900 m, but we managed to get through that part thanks to the effort of the whole team.”


“I had the impression that this climb was much more difficult than the Moonflower buttress or the north face of Ausangate, the northwest ridge of Ghamubar Zom, which I did in 2023,” explains Yudai Suzuki. The Japanese climber is no stranger to difficult, alpine-style ascents in the Andes or Alaska. In Peru, at Ausagante, 6384 m, he was part of a rope party that opened a route in five days on the steep north face (WI6 and 5.10). A 1100-meter route. The Ghamubar Zom, in Pakistan, booked a difficult mixed climb the same year.

Happy and lucid, Yudai Susuzki concludes: “I may never climb such a difficult and dangerous route again in my life. I’m filled with an indescribable feeling of having done it all, and of having been able to draw such a beautiful and adventurous big line in alpine style without a prior attempt.”