American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Bolivia, Cordillera Apolobamba, Chaupi Orco Norte to Chaupi Orco, Traverse

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

Chaupi Orco Norte to Chaupi Orco, Traverse. On May 26, British La Paz residents Yossi Brain and Pete Grosset, together with visiting Brits Glen Wilks and John Mudway, climbed Chaupi Orco Norte (6000m) in the northern Apolobamba, believing it to be Chaupi Orco (6044m), the highest mountain in the range. However, when they stood on the summit it was obvious that there was a higher mountain lying to the south on the other side of four peaks. After climbing the first two intervening peaks (Pts. 5960 and 5920m), Mudway and Wilks decided to return via the ascent route, while Brain and Grosset continued with the remains ofone bar of chocolate and one liter of water each. They climbed the next two peaks (Pts. 5870 and 5860m) to reach the big col to the north of Chaupi Orco. From the col, they climbed more or less direct to the southwest ridge and then followed it over a series of false summits to top out around 4:30 p.m. From Chaupi Orco, they descended north back to the col between Chaupi Orco and Pt. 5860 meters and then headed down. The descent was a nightmare, and they returned to camp at 9:30 p.m. after 17 hours on the hill. Brain was so dehydrated that the next day when he slipped over on ice and badly cut his wrist, the blood just oozed out like red oatmeal and didn’t drip.

Technically the route could be graded at AD+, as long as one remembers the whole day was spent over 5200 meters (most of it between 5800 and 6000m) and there does not appear to be an easy way off if you are unable to finish the route. It was the probable second ascent of the four intervening peaks. The first Chaupi Orco-Chaupi Orco Norte traverse was done by a German expedition from Munich in 1969. They took three days, but mention only three intervening peaks.

Yossi Brain, United Kingdom

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