American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Bolivia, Cordilleras Quimsa Cruz and Santa Vera Cruz

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1992

Cordilleras Quimsa Cruz and Santa Vera Cruz. During a six-week stay in the area of La Paz, I made three solo trips into these seldom visited ranges. From the Mina Bajaderías, above Pongo, I reached the Coricampana Glacier and the northeast side of the Huayna Cunocollo massif, camping at 5100 meters. On May 22,1 climbed the northeast side of Nevado San Luis (5620 meters, 18,439 feet). The summit ridge is long and narrow, all ice and corniced. Its main point was reached from the northwest by the 1982 Regensburg expedition when descending from Huayna Cunocollo. I climbed a new route. On May 25, I placed another camp at the head of the San José valley and on the following day climbed the north ridge of Nevado San Juan or Altarani (5540 meters, 18,176 feet). The peak was first climbed from the west in September of 1938 by Germans Josef Prem and Wilfried Kühm. In my second campaign, I first attempted Cerro Chatamarca (5180 meters, 16,995 feet) and then made another second ascent, that of Cerro Chamac Collo (c. 5350 meters, 17,553 feet), climbed from the northeast in 1990 by two Britons (see above); I ascended instead the steep western gully. In my last campaign, I reached the Monte Blanco mine, crossed the Huallatani Pass (5100 meters) and dropped west into the Chocñacota mine basin. On July 5, from a 5000-meter camp, I traversed the west arm of the flat Chocñacota Glacier and climbed the easy but unstable northeast side of Cerro Santa Rosa (5520 meters, 18,111 feet), located north of the mine, a first ascent. I then returned to the Huañayacota hamlet and transferred activities to the Cordillera Santa Vera Cruz, which is a cluster of some ten peaks from 15,000 to 18,000 feet, south of the Quimsa Cruz. From a camp on the Huariananta lake, I attempted 5100-meter Cerro Chupica, whose sharp summit pinnacle I could not climb. Judging from photographs dating back to 1903,I feel that the Cordillera Vera Cruz has lost more ice and snow than any other Bolivian range.

Evelio Echevarría

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