South America, Bolivia, Report on Bolivian Climbing

Climb Year: N/A. Publication Year: 1981.

Report on Bolivian Climbing. The year looked good on paper—twelve good new routes, a couple of old classics like Huayna Potosí, innumerable shorter climbs and so forth—but the memory is deadened by the July coup d’état which brought so much pain to friends. I stopped climbing at the time of the coup and did not begin again until late August. A listing of the more important of these climbs follows, for the record as it were, but I suspect that A.AJ. readers might be more interested in some observations about climbing down here. The Cordillera Real is milder than the major Peruvian ranges, with generally easy approaches, wide valleys, and peaks which usually offer simple descent routes. These characteristics, together with the highly stable weather from May through August, make the region convenient for the La Paz weekend climber. At the moment, La Paz has one weekend climber: me. I solo a lot. It would be nice to have somebody to hold the other end of the rope and goad me now and then. While almost all of the summits have been reached by formidable European peak-bagging expeditions and the rare local climber, anything else is untouched. The only peaks which have seen intensive activity are Huayna Potosí, Illimani, Illampu, Ancohuma, Condoriri and the convenient Khala Cruz-Charquini group, which now suffers thirteen Shepard routes. Some other peaks may have more than one route on them, but the vast majority of ridges and faces have not been touched, and there are secret places I am not ready to talk about yet. New routes this year included Wila Joje (5596 meters, 18,360 feet) south face indirect, solo, February; Wila Manquilizani (5324 meters, 17,467 feet) southwest snow face, with John Greenough, Jerry Perkins, November, 1979; Purapurani Thojo (5416 meters, 17,700 feet) south side, with Michael Betcher, March; Huallomen (c. 5400 meters, 17,717 feet) Canaleta de la Cascada, with Greenough, April; Sora Patilla (5225 meters, 17,142 feet) Espolón sin Rastros, with Ricardo Albert, May; Condoriri (5648 meters, 18,531 feet) La Cascada, with Betcher, June; Charquini (c. 5300 meters, 17,389 feet) Route Five, Route Four, Cumbre A Canaleta y Pilar, Nazi Suicide Traverse, Scottish Couloir, Cuarenta y Ocho Minutos. Espolón sin Rastros (the southeast ridge of Sora Patilla) is a long rock ridge which can be third-classed and gives terrific views of Charquini and the south side of Huayna Potosí. Nazi Suicide Traverse gives superb ice and mixed climbing, as do many of the Charquini routes. It took me a long seven hours to solo it under difficult conditions but probably is easy with dry rock. La Cascada (the obvious icefall beneath Condoriri) gives an enjoyable way to reach the upper mountain, and Canaleta, which forms the extreme right margin of Cascada, offers a spectacular climb with one moderate fixed pitch; it is safe enough when well frozen. The Wila Loje South Face is easily reached from the Hichuk- hota Valley road and would offer enjoyable climbing when frozen; stay off it in February.

Stanley S. Shepard