American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Bolivia, Nevado de las Vírgines

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1993

Nevado de las Vírgines. Late in May, Bolivian Mario Miranda and Americans Stan Shepard and I probably made the first ascent of the Nevado de las Virgines, part of the Khori Chuma group, the southernmost of the granite peaks. This is a 5500-meter (18,045-foot) fluted ice wedge forming the high point of a ridge walling in the second valley southeast of Mina Viloco. The construction of a dam and viaduct in this valley made it possible to drive to our camp at Laguna Choco Kkota at 4450 meters. We began at four A.M., worked our way through moraine, an icefall of barest blue ice, and continued up bare ice to the bergschrund—more blue ice which provided a good lead on steep boilerplate. By now it was late afternoon. Shepard set a belay and I led out to the summit on a 100-meter rope. I summited at sunset and we picked our way by headlamp back down the mountain and its interminable moraine. We bivouacked briefly at five A.M. when our last batteries gave out. Soon after sunrise, we arrived back in camp, 27 hours after starting. A word of warning: many Bolivian peaks have lost their agreeable snow cover and present much hard ice.

Dakin Cook, Unajfiliated

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