Southern Cordillera Quimsa Cruz, Various Activity. The idea of a possible expedition to visit the southern region of the Quimsa Cruz was first proposed in September, 1999, following Sue Savege’s successful trip to the northern region. Having limited information concerning the area, Sue and I set about researching possible mountains to visit. Finally we decided to explore the alpinesque peaks in the area of Corichuma (5675m) and to establish a base camp at Laguna Choca Kkota. This area appeared to offer a great deal of potential for new routing and possible first ascents.
With funding from the British Mountaineering Council, The Mount Everest Foundation, and the Alison Chadwick Fund, a team of six female climbers (Sue Savege, Catrin Thomas, Di Gilbert, Sarah Nuttall, Clare Waddingham, Adele Pennington) was assembled. The team left the United Kingdom in July and flew directly to La Paz. After organizing supplies, retrieving lost baggage and acclimatizing, we left La Paz and were dropped off at the side of the road nine hours later. After a very uncomfortable camp on a 30-degree slope, we ferried all the equipment to base camp (4500m). With perfect weather and surrounded by mountains, we set about our exploration, initially scrambling on unclimbed peaks below the snow line and climbing on a granite buttress close to the base camp.
“Base Camp Buttress” was ascended by Di and Sue on a route called Bakers Oven (El 5b) and by Clare and Sarah on a loose and not recommended line (V. Diff). In addition to completing new routes on Cerro Huari Taranca and on the southwest ridge of Cerro Salvadora, we were able to recce the area and acclimatize. Within a couple of days, we were all ready to tackle our first alpine routes. In two teams, we set off with separate objectives and successfully completed an ascent of an unnamed peak we called Les Tres Marias (5480m) and an ascent of the west peak of Cerro Yaypuri (5500m). At approximate alpine grades of PD+, these mountains, which had no recorded ascents, enticed us to look at possible lines on the south ridge of Korrichuma. Two routes onto the ridge were made, along with an ascent of Cero Hualla Kkota as well. Gaining the south ridge from the east was perhaps the better choice, and a delightful slab took Sue and Di to the central tower on the ridge. The western approach was not so profitable and is definitely not recommended.
After some more new routes on our base camp buttress, two teams set off to explore new lines on subsidiary summits of Chiaro Jancho Kkuno (5460m). A superb line named Passos Celestios straight up the south face was made to the east peak. The following day, this route was repeated and a traverse west to an unnamed peak that we called “Pico Helado” (5400m) achieved. With just a couple of days left and the threat of unsettled weather, the team concluded their trip with
a day out on the upper tier of Base Camp Buttress. On this day, five new rock routes were climbed. With the arrival of snow, the team walked out, satisfied with their exploration.
Adele Pennington, United Kingdom