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South America, Bolivia, Cordillera Quimsa Cruz, Araca Group, various ascents

Araca Group, various ascents. Mike Walker, Cameron Burns (Basalt Bigfoot Coalition), and I spent June 29–July 10 in the Mocoya and Teacota valleys of the northern Araca Group of the Quimsa Cruz. While there, we spent most of our time bivouacked under a large boulder, avoiding high winds, cold, and driving snow. We did manage three ascents, two of which were firsts.

In La Paz we hired a 4×4 Jeep to drive us eight hours to the depressed mining village of Viloco, on the western slopes of the Quimsa Cruz. Once in Viloco we solicited the locals for directions north to the Mocoya Valley, where we established the first in a series of unseasonably wet camps. From the Mocoya Valley we employed a passing miner, Juan Maydana Choque, his sons, and their two mules to assist us over two passes to the Teacota Valley and the eastern slopes of this jaw-dropping range.

On July 7, the weather began clearing, and so did our minds. Cam and I climbed a direct route (2,800', IV 5.9) up Point 5,304m, referred to as the Northeast Tower (Nordostl Turm) by the 1987 German Bolivia expedition. The descent was straight back down via sand-filled gullies and rappels. On July 9, with clear skies and warmer temperatures, Cam and I climbed Hamburguesa Daydreams (1,200', III 5.7) on a huge slab of rock just west of the Northeast Tower and part of the same complex of rock. The descent was a walk off to the west. During our stay we also climbed a nice, small, Bugaboos-like tower (that may have been previously climbed)—mostly scrambling, one pitch of moderate rock—just north of the Pico Penis, in a blizzard, via the east (Amazon) side.

On July 10 the snow returned and so did Juan, his sons, and the mules for our trip back to Viloco. We returned to La Paz on July 11th via the local bus system, which is a story in itself.

Benny Bach, Team Rio de Caca