Peak Austria, Caporales Celtica
South America, Bolivia, Cordillera Real
Paddy Englishman, Paddy Scotsman, and Paddy Irishman (Jim Osborne, Rob MacCallum, and I) arrived in La Paz in one piece but subsequently fell apart when we reached base camp in the Condoriri Valley. A heady cocktail of AMS, gastroenteritis, mild HAPE, and chronic trots got us off to a flying start. As we recovered, in July we made several attempts and ascents, including what we believe to be new route on Peak Austria (5,320m). It has a beautiful buttress—La Fortaleza Buttress (Fortress Buttress)—that offered a welcome change from snow-plodding, and MacCallum and I put up a superb rock route on its eastern arête. The line had lots of character, 350m long, V Diff, alpine grade AD, climbing ribs, towers, and a ridge crest, all on quality sedimentary rock, with a dramatic backdrop of the Cabeza and surrounding peaks. Naming the route was the hardest part. We settled on Caporales Celtica—caporales being a traditional Bolivian dance performed by African slaves in the court of the Spanish Conquistadors. Celtica being our version.