American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Peru, Cordillera Vilcanota and Carabaya, Kiscalaya, Kimsachata, and Other Peaks, Cordillera Vilanota and Carabaya

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1971

Kiscalaya, Kimsachata, and other peaks, Cordillera Vilcanota and Carabaya. With Peter Barry, of Wellington, N.Z., I left Marcapata on July 6, 1969 for the Tillpa valley. We passed the ridge of Sahuancay Cruz (see map) with its ruins, and its bird’s-eye view on either side, and continued via Chilimoco to the moraine of Toltoquere, whence we ascended to our campsite Vacapuñuna (c. 15,000 feet). After a reconnaissance of the east side of Kiscalaya (18,520 feet, 5645 meters) the next day in fog and clouds we climbed it again by the east spur on July 8 before any clouds had developed, roping together to attain the highest cornice which rises south of the point where the east spur branches off the main ridge. Here the view extends over the lofty ice horn of Kiscalaya’s northern summit to the selva, and from Verónica and Salcantay to the Apolobamba. Most impressive was the fluted ice peak of Kellurata to the northwest, the top of which supports an exuberant snow mushroom. The next day we went to the upper Toltoquere Glacier below the rock face of Taipicala, a conspicuous single peak in the prolongation of Kishuarnioj’s east ridge. Before dark I climbed Taipicala (17,996 feet, 5485 meters) from here by the north side and east ridge. On July 10 we both climbed Kishuarnioj Norte (central peak of the group, at the junction of four ridges, 18,586 feet, 5665 meters), following the inner névé and the northeast side near the east ridge.

Since the current fine weather was not likely to last for long, we walked back to Marcapata and ascended past Ch’umpi to a place below the north ridge of Kimsachata. This peak is a landmark of the Marcapata-Vilcanota that looks into the Araza headvalley. Its name means “the three (peaks) joined together” which is indeed what it looks like when seen from the plaza in Marcapata, while from the Hualla-Hualla highway pass it appears as a sharp-edged single pyramid. On July 13 we followed a long straight cleft rising from the main gully north of the hanging glacier to ascend the east wall, arriving at the shoulder of the north ridge above the deep gap. The ridge was longer than I had expected but led us to the highest (northwestern) summit of Kimsachata (17,800 feet, 5425 meters). The following day John Ricker, who visited us in camp, and I climbed the yellow rock peak (c. 16,732 feet, 5100 meters) northeast of Kimsachata that permits a good view of the remote southern valleys above their bifurcation at Huayllapata.

In late July I went to the Coasa-Ituata section of the Cordillera Carabaya. Using the road that connects Ajoyani with Coasa for the first five miles beyond the Achasiri pass, I entered Quebrada Keñuane to the left and climbed Caltana (14°04' south, 70°11 ' west, 17,700 feet) that rises at its inner end, via Caltanacocha and the southeast ridge on July 24. This is the tent-shaped snow peak seen 19 miles southeast of Allinccapac. The next morning I met Pete in Macusani, ready for our climb of Cotrillane, northeastern peak of the Allinccapac group, near Laguna Omancca and Escalera on the road to Ayapata. It is also called Choque- chinchay, but was denoted Cl on A. Chinn’s 1968 map. This climb was incorrectly reported in the last issue of this Journal (p. 166). We left the Ayapata road at Occeaje near Laguna Toca, and with Alejandro Quispe, of Escalera, crossed the ridge of Cerro Jatunloma and traversed the cliffs above Laguna Cotrillane to camp beside the outer glacier. On the following day, July 27, we entered the hidden inner glacier by a narrow ice pass and reached the saddle behind the front peak where the southern snow ridge begins. It took us more than two hours to negotiate this ridge which ends below a gendarme shot through by a crack that served us an escape to the southern roof. Here one finds a spectacular view of the blue-green, fjord-like Azulcocha down the west side. At the northern end of the roof, another pitch of steep ice led to the summit of Cotrillane (c. 17,500 feet). On the descent we also climbed the front peak (twins, c. 17,000 feet), south of the saddle. Unlike the other climbs, Cotrillane was not a first ascent. We do not recommend our route, the south ridge. Since the mountain is virtually two-dimensional, only the drier north ridge remains as perhaps more convenient, accessible from Taype.

Back in the Marcapata valley in the Vilcanota, I climbed some of the inviting front peaks of Huahuallani on August 3, directly from Limac- puncu (6900 feet) but, unfortunately, left too late to get to the highest point (Ingavi, c. 15,000 feet) and back before dark. At one part of the lower northwest ridge, fissures and deep splits indicated the development of future landslides, a reminder of the disaster in 1788 when the lower Marcapata valley was devastated by the flood following a landslide off Huahuallani. It was not a unique event. From time to time it seems to have happened that the Araza was dammed up at Limacpuncu (“gateway of the river”). Cochas is the name of another place, a few miles upstream, which reminds us of the lake that formed on these occasions.

After a visit to Lacco I started with Diómedes Sequeiros, of Marcapata, again for the Tillpa valley. Authentic Marcapata fog almost paralyzed us the next day, but permitted us to establish an advance camp in the Colque Cruz cirque above Chilimoco. From here I climbed Kellurata (18,045 feet, 5500 meters) on August 7, the first of three clear days, traversing the lower east wall north of the hanging glacier to continue near the north ridge. Then we proceeded into the upper, southernmost Sombreruni valley, to Huariquiña, between two glaciers descending from the south. Weather was exceptionally clear with cold wind the next morning, August 9, while I climbed the soft wave-like snow peak to the south (18,520 feet, 5645 meters) by crossing the left one of the two glaciers in its upper smooth part. Since I could find no local name for this peak, I call it here Nevado de Sombreruni.

OLAF HARTMANN, Göttingen University

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.