Quimsa Cruz, Various Ascents. The 1998 Scottish Bolivian Expedition (Tony Barton, leader; Ken Marsden, Tom Wiggins, Tony Hill, Russel Weedon, Dougie Bayne and John Miller) touched down at El Alto on June 7. After ascents in the Condoriri group (Tarija, 5250m; Jancopiti, 5875m), part of the team left. The remaining members turned our attention south of the Cordillera Real to the little-visited Quimsa Cruz, a compact range of mountains some 50 kilometers long with a high point of Cerro Gigante (5748m). Its central and southern parts are glaciated, while in the north, apart from a few minor glaciers, it consists of a wonderful array of rocky peaks and spires up to 5350 meters. Armed with a full set of maps, we arranged 4×4 transportation and after seven hours arrived at Viloco, a large and somewhat unsightly mining town. It is worth remembering that but for the mines there would be no road. A simple three-hour walk took us to a campsite. The next seven days featured excellent weather and we were able to climb several routes, four of which we believe to be first ascents, and all on impeccable rock. Ascents included: the west ridge of Cerro Torrini (5100m; GR 587 420), July 1, Barton and Wiggans, solo. The east ridge (V-, 200m, five pitches) of Cerro Taruca Umaña (4852m; GR 572 403), July 2, Barton, Wiggins and Marsden. The south ridge (III+, 155m, three pitches) of Pt. 4905m (GR 577 410), July 3, Barton, Wiggins and Marsden. The east face (IV, 195m, six pitches) of Pt. 4685m (GR 591 393), July 5, Wiggins and Barton. The east ridge/north face (V, 240m, seven pitches) of Grosse Mauer (5080m, GR 599 387), July 6, Barton and Wiggins. The north ridge of Pt. 5060m (GR 591 399), July 6, Marsden, solo. Grid references refer to the IGM Viloco 1:50,000 sheet.
Considerable potential remains and with all the peaks so close to hand it is a pleasant area in which to climb.
Anthony Barton, United Kingdom