A Queenstown quartet played a key role in a climbing expedition to the Peruvian Andes being hailed as one of the most successful in recent New Zealand history.
Steven Fortune, Daniel Joll, Ben Dare and Stephen Skelton are members of a 12-strong team that has climbed four new routes on Taulliraju (5830m), a peak regarded as one of the most difficult in the Andes.
Organised by the Expedition Climbers Club, the team has spent the past five weeks in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca mountain range.
In that time, Rose Pearson, 26, and Alastair McDowell, 24, made the first ascent of Taulliraju’s West Ridge. The pair are members of the club’s youth development programme, the New Zealand Alpine Team.
The climb made Pearson the first woman to climb Taulliraju.
Dare and Skelton achieved the first ascent of the peak’s East Rib, while Joll, Fortune and Australian Matthew Scholes climbed a new line on the peak’s South Face.
In doing so, they became the first New Zealanders and Australians to summit the peak.
The expedition, which also included 25-year-old Dunedin climber Jaz Morris, also achieved the first full traverse of the mountain.
Otago Daily Times