Ala Izquierda, South Face, Variation

Bolivia, Cordillera Real
Author: Alexander von Ungern. Climb Year: 2015. Publication Year: 2016.

At 2:30 a.m., November 25, Pacifico Machaca and I left my car at La Rinconada (4,400m) and hiked past Chiar Khota base camp to reach the foot of the south face of Ala Izquierda. We simul-climbed the initial 50–60° snow/ice slope, starting at the same point as the Direct Route, then slanted right to hit the rocky section forming the right side of the face. We climbed through this via a narrow gully line in four 60–70m pitches. The first was mainly mixed over loose rock (M3+), the next two snow and ice with short vertical steps (WI3), and the last on loose rock right of the couloir, which was already melting. We reached the west ridge at 12:30 p.m., 20m left of the summit, and then climbed down the crest until a 35m rappel gained a steep rock slope, which we descended to the glacier. While rappelling, a shower of rock punctured my helmet. We returned via the pass north of Pico Austria and regained the car at 5:30 p.m.

When the face has more snow, earlier in the season (late May or June), it might be possible to stay in the gully throughout on ice or hard, frozen snow. This would avoid struggling with loose rock on the last pitch. In addition, the steep, dangerous rock slope below the rappel would have a good snow blanket. We have been unable to find information on this line, nor any signs of a previous ascent. It is harder than the Right Route, and we suggest a grade of D+. Should it be new, we also suggest the name Roco Loca, due to the battle we had with loose rock.

Alexander von Ungern, Andean Ascents, Bolivia

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