American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Bolivia, Cololo, Palomani Grande, Huanacuni and Nubi, Cordillera Apolobamba

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1990

Cololo, Palomani Grande, Huanacuni and Nubi, Cordillera Apolobamba. David Tyson, Pamela Holt and I climbed on both sides of the Peruvian-Bolivian border during August. We had Base Camp for two weeks at the head of Lago Nubi, from which we climbed Cololo (5915 meters, 19,405 feet) by the north ridge, a new route, and descended the west ridge. We placed a high camp at 18,000 feet on the snowfield below the north and west ridges. We got to the summit on August 9 after 15 hours on the north ridge. We had mixed climbing mostly on the eastern side of the ridge just below the crest. The shattered rock was very steep in sections and required care. The final 250 meters were corniced to the west and we had to traverse 70° snow on the eastern side. We failed on Huanacuni (5705 meters, 18,717 feet) after underestimating the difficulties. The long, horizontal ridge from Cololo to Huanacuni looked as if it would be easy, but access proved more difficult than expected. Once on the ridge, we encountered a steep, knife-edged section with poor snow and so abandoned the route. We did climb Nubi (5710 meters, 18,734 feet) on August 14. This is a preliminary peak on the ridge south of Huanacuni. Our second Base Camp was established just north of Lago Suches about two miles over the frontier into Peru. From there we made the first ascent of the southwest ridge of Palomani Grande (5677 meters, 18,924 feet). The lower two-thirds of this ridge was a scramble over shattered slate with two pitches over harder, steeper rock. We camped at the base of the snow spur leading to the final summit slopes. On August 24, we climbed the snow spur in three 70° pitches. The final summit slopes had séracs and a few wide crevasses.

David Woodcock, Bath University, England

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