In the Rurec Valley, called by many climbers the “Little Yosemite” of the Andes, an Italian expedition opened two new routes on Nevado Quillujirca (5,040m).
[Editor's note: Quillujirca is the local name. The peak has been incorrectly referred to as Shaqsha or Huantsán Chico in the past. Huantsán Chico is in fact the incorrect name given to Nevado Shaqsha years ago, hence the confusion. Nevado Quillujirca was first climbed by American's Kent McClannan and Cameron Tague. They called their route Mission Control (IV 5.11+ A2+, AAJ 2000), and it is the first known technical ascent of the peak. Their route climbs a direct line up the right side of the east face. The Italian route El Sueño de los Excluidos, described below, intersects Mission Control around its fourth pitch and follows it to the top. At the time of their ascent, the Americans thought the peak was unnamed, so the Italians believed they were climbing virgin terrain.]
The Italian team installed base camp on May 6, with a main objective of Punta Numa’s west face, where in 1997 a Spanish team opened the first route on the impressive granite wall. Due to unfavorable weather, the Italians decided on Nevado Quillujirca instead. On May 11, Roberto Iannilli and Andrea DiDonato climbed 300m up the east face to a large shelf where they installed bivouac equipment and then returned to base camp, leaving fixed ropes. The next day, they returned to the bivouac with Ivo Scappatura, but bad weather held until May 15. Scappatura returned to base camp due to health problems, but DiDonato and Iannilli continued climbing the southeast face on muddy and vegetated cracks. After three bivouacs on the ascent and another on the descent, they opened El Sueño de los Excluidos (1,340m, VII/VII+ A2, 25 pitches, May 11-18). The upper part of their route intersects Mission Control (McClannan-Tague, 2000).
Around the same dates, Luca D’Andrea and Massimo Massimiano climbed the south face of the same mountain, calling their line La Teoría de la Gota de Agua (800m, VII- A2). The route shares the same initial 300m as El Sueño, and does not reach the summit.