In mid-March, Johnny Ticona (Bolivia), Davide Vitale (Italy/Belgium, resident in Bolivia), and I made what we believe to be the first ascent of the southwest face of Jakoceri. (This peak is often quoted as ca 5,800m, but is possibly higher; it is shown as ca 5,900m on Google Earth.) The face, visible from Davide’s kitchen window in Peñas, is beautiful, eye-catching, and among the most significant faces in this central part of the Cordillera Real. Davide had dreamed of climbing this ice and mixed wall for more than two years and had already visited a site for base camp below the mountain.
The approach, from Alto Cruzpampa, is long: ca 25km up a valley. We had to cross deep rainy-season rivers, which gave us problems. Base camp was in a beautiful location, but given the demanding access it will probably never become overfrequented.
|The southwest face of Jakoceri. (1) Never Ending Story to the north (main) summit (2) Milanesa Patentada to the south summit. Robert Rauch also attempted a more direct line, left of Never Ending Story, but was defeated by bad conditions. Photo by Roberto Morales|
We left our tents at 4 a.m. and took a line on the left side of the face that was relatively direct, steep, and objectively safe. I led throughout. Several pitches, notably the first, were M5, with protection from cams and nuts. Continuing through a short-lived snowstorm, we found the upper part of the face to have rotten, rainy-season ice at 65–75°, with little or no meaningful protection.
After exiting onto the ridge we went up to the main (north) summit and then down the opposite (east) side of the mountain to the upper Chachacomani Glacier. From there we headed back up west to the col between Chachacomani and Jakoceri, made one difficult rappel from an Abalakov anchor to the southwest, and then descended to our high camp at midnight. It was a complex and extremely long affair, and we named the route Never Ending Story (400m, TD). [Editor’s note: Jakoceri has a long ridge connecting the north (higher) and south summits. It is not clear who made the first ascent; possibly Japanese climbers as early as 1964. Until a flurry of activity in the first half of 2016, it had rarely been climbed.]
A few weeks later, a three-man Bolivian-Ecuadorian team climbed another, easier route toward the right side of the face. I went back again for another, more direct line to the main summit with Rodrigo Lobo and a young French climber, but conditions were so bad we gave up after the first pitch. In May 2016, a French pair made the first ascent of the south ridge of Jakoceri.
Robert Rauch, Bolivian Tours, email@example.com