New routes and information. A six-member British expedition organized by Sarah Griffin visited the Gigante Grande Group in June and July, establishing base camp at the northern end of Lake Larum Khota. From here they made eight ascents, two of which were possibly new. These were the West Face of Cerro Sofia (5,720m), the summit immediately north of Gigante Grande, by Matt Freear, Griffin, Tim Moss, and Ted Saunders, at AD+, and the South Face of a subsidiary peak immediately northeast of Torre Jihuna (5,740m) by Freear and Griffin. The former was a slope of wonderfully compact névé. The climbers separated on the summit, one descending the loose north ridge, the other the mostly snowy north face. The second new route proved the hardest of the expedition, climbing a 300m ice slope topped by steep deep snow, with a descent of the mixed rock/snow east ridge. The expedition visited four other summits in the valley, and the team notes that the new 1:50,000 color maps of the region (obtained from the Bolivia Insituto Geographico Militar in La Paz) are largely clear and reliable.
Unfortunately, ascents in the Quimsa Cruz have been poorly documented, and a lot of climbing from the 1960s and ’70s was unrecorded. In addition numerous parties have recorded routes on mountains that they named themselves but not indicated the exact location. As Yossi Brain stated in his Bolivia climbing guide, “There is more confusion over names and heights in the Quimsa Cruz than in any other area in Bolivia.”
For this reason Sarah Griffin has begun a long-term project to collate information on climbing in the region and is making a global appeal to the mountaineering community by setting up a website. Through this it should be possible for any climber to add pictures and information relating to ascents in the area. As the site grows it could become the point of reference for climbing in the Quimsa Cruz. Visit www.quimsacruz.info or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO, CLIMB magazine