Cresta la Vertebra, New Routes
Bolivia, Cordillera Quimsa Cruz
Manu Chance and I arrived in La Paz on May 12 and began our acclimatization for an ascent of the south face of Illimani by sport climbing at Las Penas, where there are 100m routes from 6a to 6c at an altitude of 4,300m. We then climbed Huayna Potosi (6,088m) before heading to the Cordillera Quimsa Cruz. Here, we first visited the cliffs at the Jardin de Porotos and then climbed on the Cuernos del Diablo. The lines here are superb, even if some of the cracks are vegetated. We then moved to the Cresta la Vertebra, where we put up several new single-pitch lines and two longer routes: Maître Splitter (150m, 5 pitches, 6a, finishing on the crest of the ridge and snowline), and Pan Bagnat Connection (150m, 5 pitches, 6c; number 5 and 6 cams useful for the crux offwidth pitches). We placed bolts on some of the belays and rappel anchors. After this we returned to La Paz to recharge batteries before leaving for Illimani.
Thomas Arfi, France
Editor’s note: La Vertebra ridge lies immediately southwest of the Cuernos, and the routes climbed by the French lie at the head of a southwest-facing cirque on the south side of the ridge. The approach to the French routes is steep and bouldery, taking about 1.25 hours from the upper lake at ca 4,300m.