Serkhe Khollu, Southwest Face, Water World
Bolivia, Cordillera Real, Hampaturi Group
On October 6, José Callisaya (Bolivian), Robert Rauch (German, resident in La Paz), and I climbed a new route on the southwest face of Serkhe Khollu (5,546m). Reaching the foot of this wall required one and a half hour's drive from La Paz, an easy two-hour walk along the shores of Serkhe Lake to reach snowline at 5,100m, and then snow to the foot of the wall. We began with the first two pitches of Tiers of Pachamama (350m, WI4, AAJ 2012), then followed a big ledge to the right and climbed three mixed pitches (M5-, M2, M3). The first had an almost vertical 20m section; the second and third gained less altitude, traversing toward big icefalls we had seen from afar. The last pitch (WI5) was 35m and divided into two vertical parts, the second of which finished with a 2m–3m overhanging section, with hollow and rotten ice. (The best season for ice is usually late July and August.) We topped out at ca 5,300m and from there went down the normal route to the northwest. We left La Paz at 3 a.m. and were back at 5 p.m. the same day. [This is Rauch's seventh new route on the face.]
We named our six-pitch climb Water World, alluding to the late-season ice and the effects of global warming—some local routes seem to have disappeared. As all three of us were climbing partners of the local activist Chris Clarke, who had made the first ascent (with Rauch) of Tiers of Pachamama but moved from Bolivia in mid-October 2015, we would like to dedicate this climb to him.
Alexander von Ungern, Andean Ascents, Bolivia