Huayna Potosi, Northeast Ridge via North Ridge of Pico Mesili, Aspirante 2016
Bolivia, Cordillera Real
On May 19, members of the 2016 IFMGA aspirants guides’ course, with instructors Roberto Gomez and Eduardo Unzueta, climbed a new line up the north ridge of Pico Mesili, a summit on the northeast ridge of Huayna Potosi. We approached the previous day, starting at the hydroelectric station (4,350m), joining the aqueduct, and eventually bivouacking at 4,850m on the northeast slopes of Huayna Potosi, just after passing the start of its northeast ridge. Ruined stone huts by a little lake give protection from the wind. The steep, rocky lower section of the northeast ridge, which reaches the glaciated slopes above Pico Mesili at about 5,700m, is taken by the route Bicophobia (1,000m, TD+), climbed over three days in August 2010 by Vincent Bailleu, Rémi Labourie, and Benoit Montfort. We aimed to climb the north ridge.
We left around 4 a.m. and climbed the ridge in the dark, overcoming several short pitches in mountaineering boots. We believe some moves were 5a/b. We reached the snow line as the sun rose and slanted across the glacier to join the northeast ridge at the end of Bicophobia. Everyone then continued up the ridge to the main summit of Huayna Potosi, after which Roberto Gomez, Sebastian Rojas, and Juan Señoret climbed along the connecting ridge to the south summit and descended by the French Route. The others descended more or less by the Normal Route. As far as we know, there is no report of our line being climbed in the past, and we have named it Aspirante 2016 (AD+).
Alexander von Ungern, Andean Ascents, Bolivia