American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Bolivia, Ancohuma, 1971

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1974

Ancohuma, 1971. Karl-Otto Ambronn, Gernot Gröbl, Werner Kirsch, Klaus Moelter and I were in the Ancohuma-Illampu massif in July and August of 1971. Our objective was to reconnoiter Ancohuma and make the second ascent of the southwest face of Illampu from a Base Camp on the west side of the group. We gave up the expedition because of the untimely death of Gröbl. From Sorata we climbed to 11,500 feet for the first night, July 9. Following the 1970 southwest-face route of Kabel and Kaha on Illampu, on the second day we got to 14,600 feet on a moderately steep ramp between the lower cliffs and precipices above. We followed the ramp on the third day and climbed slabs to reach a plateau at 16,100 feet, where we placed Base Camp. We found a way on the northern and northwestern slopes of Ancohuma to a snow col which led to the glacial basin between Illampu and Ancohuma, but nevertheless we climbed through the 1500-foot-high labyrinth of the eastern icefall to get to the basin, where we bivouacked at 19,700 feet on July 14. Gröbl, who had complained of illness during the afternoon, was so mountain- sick by morning that he could not leave the tent. Evacuation began immediately. A rescue team set up by other Germans and members of the Club Andino Boliviano reached us late on July 18, but he died early on the 19th. We did return later with the Bolivian Ernesto Sánchez and quickly retraced our steps, gaining the summit of Ancohuma on August 3 in a 3½-day round trip.

Joachim Kayser, Deutscher Alpenverein

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