|The south face of Illimani (6,439m) showing the two partial new routes climbed in 2015. (1) Por la Vida (2015). (2) Hubert Ducroz (1988). (3) Original Laba-Thackray Route (1974). (4) Directa Italiana (2015). Many other routes are not shown here.|
Over June 13–14, Marco Majori and I, from the Italian High Mountain Military Section, climbed Directa Italiana (ca 1,300m) on the south face of Illimani (6,439m). Prior to this we acclimatized by climbing Pico Milluni (5,600m) and Huayna Potosi (6,088m). On June 12 we left La Paz and the same day reached base camp at the abandoned Mina Mesa at 4,800m. Next day we made the two-hour walk to the bottom of the south face, where we arrived at about 6 a.m.
Starting in the center of the face, at its lowest point, we climbed directly through the large lower buttress at 5c WI3 M4 until reaching the great snow and ice slope above. Here the climbing became more physical than technical, and at 6,200m we decided to bivouac below an ice wall at the left end of the upper serac barrier. It was neither comfortable nor pleasant. Next day we climbed onto the upper southwest ridge and followed it to the summit, which we reached at 11 a.m. The same day we descended the normal route to the west to reach the base of the mountain.
Marco Farina, Italy
Editor’s note: This is a direct start to the 1974 Laba-Thackray Route, which gained the central snow and ice slope by slanting up much easier ground on the left flank of the large lower buttress.