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Huascarán or Nevado Huascarán is a mountain in the Peruvianmarker province of Yungay, situated in the Cordillera Blancamarker range of the Western Andes. The highest southern summit of Huascarán (Huascarán Sur) is the highest point in Perumarker and all the Earth's Tropics. Huascarán is the sixth highest mountain in the Western Hemispheremarker after Aconcaguamarker, Ojos del Saladomarker, Monte Pissismarker, Cerro Bonetemarker, and Tres Crucesmarker. The mountain was named after Huáscar, a 16th century Inca chieftain who was the Sapa Inca of the Inca empire.

A summit elevation of is traditionally cited, although a slightly lower elevation of from a more recent survey is also quoted. The core of Nevada Huascarán, like much of the Cordillera Blanca, are Tertiary granites.

Huascarán gives its name to Huascarán National Parkmarker which surrounds it, and is a popular location for trekking and mountaineering. Huascarán is normally climbed from the village of Musho to the west via a high camp in the col that separates the summits, known as La Garganta. The ascent normally takes 5-7 days, the main difficulties being the large crevasses that often block the route.

The Huascarán summit is one of the points on the Earth's surface farthest from the Earth's center.

Climbing History

The summit was first reached in July 1932 by a joint GermanmarkerAustrianmarker expedition. The north peak (Huascarán Norte) had previously been climbed in 1908 by a USmarker expedition that included Annie Smith Peck.

1970 Earthquake

On 31 May 1970, the Ancash earthquake caused a substantial part of the north side of the mountain to collapse. The block of ice and rocks was about 1 mile long, half a mile wide, and half a mile deep. In about five minutes it flowed 11 miles to Yungay, burying the entire town under ice and rock, and causing the deaths of more than 20,000 people. Also buried by an avalanche was a Czechoslovakianmarker mountaineering team, none of whose members was ever seen again.This and other earthquake-induced avalanche events are often described incorrectly as "eruptions" of Huascarán, which is not of volcanic origin.

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