Death or Glory for Bullock and Helliker

by Tom Briggs Nick Bullock© Nick Carter Nick Bullock and Matt Helliker have climbed the North East Buttress of Huantsan Sur (5919m) in Peru´s Cordillera Blanca. Until the British pair arrived, there were only two routes in the Quebrada Alhuina Valley. Approached from the quiet town of Chavin, climbing on the remote east side of the range was described by Bullock as having “a similar feel to climbing on the Frenéy Face of Mont Blanc”. Their intended line had been a splitter couloir between Huantsan Sur and Huantsan Oeste (6270m), but unsettled weather mande the line unfavourable, so they chose the North East Buttress instead. The 1000m route was split into three sections, the first being loose rock, which was soloed. The middle section of the climb proved the most testing as they sneaked and sprinted around countless seracs:”massive umbrellas of wind-blown, icicle-encrust overhangs loomed at the top of the runnels we ran, and in the afternoon, the sun shone.” After a tense night in the line of a huge serac, they climbed the upper third of the route, following ice runnels, which led to the upper snow slopes and finally the summit. They descended by the same route, with one bivi. Bullock has graded the route TD/ED but given no technical grades “the climbing bares no significance to the commitment needed to complete this route”. The name: Death or Glory. An ex prison gym instructor, Bullock is one of Britain´s most prolific alpinists, affectionately described by his peers as “mad”, whilst Helliker is known as an all-round talented Alpha male dark horse. A partnership to watch out for?