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South America, Bolivia, Laramcota Valley, Quimsa Cruz

Laramcota Valley, Quimsa Cruz. The Cordillera de Quimsa Cruz can be reached by LaPaz-Viloco local buses. From the village of Tiendapata, near Viloco, I walked up the Choquecota Chico valley and camped near some lakelets shelved under its northern peaks. I attempted Chiar Tanca (5314 meters, 17,426 feet) but could not climb the final four needles rising 150 feet above the summit ridge. Traversing and crossing high gaps, I reached the Chococota valley, never entered by mountaineers and the last great valley of the Quimsa Cruz unknown to me. The only accessible peak was Ñuñu Collo (5215 meters, 17,108 feet), which I had climbed in 1989. I climbed it again on June 6, now by its easy northern slopes. On the descent, I made the first ascent of a wild tower, the highest point (c. 5080 meters, 16,667 feet) on the west ridge of Ñuñu Collo, which I called “Cerro Chumpi” (Aimará for “maroon”). I descended to the main road and took a bus to the Laramcota mine. From the southeast corner of Laramcota lake, I attempted the conical rock peak, Chiar Huyo (5500 meters, 18,045 feet), north of Cerro Santa Rosa. A blizzard forced me down from 200 feet below the top. After some days of snow, on June 9 I climbed the easy long ridge of Laramcota Grande (c. 5400 meters, 17,717 feet), not on the map but between Laramcota Chico and Pobre Cristo. It had a surveyor’s cairn on top. Bad weather ended my climbing in this range.

Evelio Echevarría