Bolivian Climbing, Overview. It was a dry year. The Bolivian government introduced drinking laws, which meant bars had to shut at 2 a.m. except for Saturdays and Sundays, when they shut at 3 a.m. There was also some weather, or rather a lack thereof: El Niño meant the 1997- ’98 Bolivian wet season was the driest and hottest in ten years, so by the time the 1998 climbing season arrived there was very little snow around and most of that got burnt off, leaving crevasses wide open and unbridged.
A more unpleasant effect was the creation of nieve penitentes, especially on eastern slopes. Climbers had to weave through them with their ropes getting caught all over the place. There were also a number of short periods of bad weather during what is normally extremely stable and good weather through the austral winter (June to September).
Liam O’Brien published a new improved second edition of his A New Map of the Cordillera Real, the only map to cover the whole of the cordillera and the only map to cover the section running southeast from Cocoyo (access for Ancohuma from the east) to Jankho Laya, which is still unmapped at 1:50,000. Mapping in Bolivia faces a slightly uncertain future after the decision by the U.S. State Department-funded National Imaging and Mapping Agency (formally the Defense Mapping Agency and before that the InterAmerican Geodesic Survey) to close their La Paz office. The office helped the Bolivian Instituto Geográfico Militar produce maps, training local personnel and supervising mapping in the country, which is still not completely covered by 1:50,000 sheets.
Yossi Brain, United Kingdom