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South America, Bolivia, Northern Apolobamba

Northern Apolobamba. In July 2000 over four-weeks, Paul Bielen, Peter Boerstoel, Michael van Geemen, and Peter Valkenburg climbed 17 peaks above 5000m in the northern Apolobamba region, including one probable first ascent and six possible new routes. The Dutch team started from a 4880m camp on the shores southeast of Lago Chucuyo Grande. From there they ascended the short west ridge of Chucuyo Grande (5530m) and repeated the south ridge of Palomani Grande (5769m). They

established the first route on the south face of Flor del Rocca Sud (300 meters, D 60 degrees), battling deep powder snow. On July 11 Boerstoel and Valkenburg opened a new route, the Central Pillar (300 meters, D+/TD-), on the east face of Nevado Saluyo Sud (5800m), finding mostly solid rock up to V+. At the same time Bielen and van Geeman established the Southeast Spur (300 meters, D) on the north peak (5770m) of Nevado Saluyo. They found mixed climbing up to IV- and 70 degrees, with awkward, deep powder snow. This pair then repeated the 1980 Italian West Ridge route on Chaupi Oreo (6044m, the Apolobamba’s highest summit) and opened a four-pitch route of very loose rock (IV/V) on the west face of Montserrat Norte (5650m). On July 15, on the southwest face of Sorel Este (5471m), a possible new route (300m, TD-) was made by Boerstoel and Valkenburg. They found good conditions, with a hard-ice 70-degree crux high on the face between two serac barriers. On the southwest face of Ascarani (5580m) the group repeated the 1996 Currie-Ryle route (300 meters, D 55 degrees).

They then moved camp to near the Paso de Pelechuco road crossing, a location allowing good access to the Katantica Group. On the west face of Katantica Oeste (5630m) they repeated the 1992 British route (350m, D-). Boerstoel and Valkenburg made the first ascent of 5610-meter Kantica Central’s south face (200m, D+ 65 degrees) during a traverse from Katantica Oeste to El Presidente. The route on this peak’s west ridge was repeated, along with those on the southwest ridge of Pelechuco Huaracha (5650m) and the west ridge of Katantica Estes (5590m). Boerstoel and Valkenburg made the possible first ascent of a 5470m, previously unnamed, summit on July 27. From the Pelechuco Road about one kilometer west of Agua Blanca, this summit is easily seen. They climbed solid, compact rock on the 550-meter north face, with a short crux of 6a (French). They called the peak Pico Pedros and descended the east flank.

Mountain INFO, High Mountain Sports 223