Climbing in the Cordillera Real: another twofer

Trip Start Apr 07, 2010
Trip End Jan 19, 2012

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of Bolivia  , La Paz,
Thursday, September 1, 2011

Two more sucessful 6000M peaks: Ancohuma and Illampu

August 21:
Rest day in La Paz. Bus for Sorata (4h ride) in the late afternoon. We camp at the edge of town on the soccer field.

August 22:
In Sorata (2,600m) we meet some trekkers (Luis, Anton and Ben)  who decide to accompany us for the first two days (out of seven) of our next mountaineering adventure. In the early afternoon we take a short cab ride to the trailhead. Then it is a 3-4h hike to Laguna Chillata (4,100m). We've been in the fog all day.

August 23:
Day 2 - The weather is clearing up. We hike to the Ancohuma Base Camp and end the day just below Laguna Glaciar at 5,000m. We are now above the clouds with awesome views over the Amazon basin and the surrounding glaciers. Tomorrow we'll have a long day to the summit so we are in bed by 7:00pm.

August 24:
Day 3 - Up at 2:00am and on the move by 3:00am, we make our way up through the moraine and eventually step onto the glacier at around 6:00am. The glacier is huge with vertical walls of snow and ice topping easily 10 meters. But conditions are good and we are able to follow old tracks to make our way up the glacier. The summit seems much closer than it really is. We chose to ascend the left ridge which proves more vertical than we expected. We reach the summit of Ancohuma (6,427m) at 11:00am. The views over Lake Titicaca and Illampu, our next objective, are spectacular. Back at High Camp at 5pm for a well deserved rest. We find the boys have left us bread and a couple cans of food...aah, sustenence!   

August 25
Day 4 - Lazy start this morning; we needed the rest. At 10:00am we start the long cross-country traverse to the Illampu Base Camp (called Aguas Calientes). It involved a lot of rock hopping, some class 3 moves, and a fair bit of elevation gain/drop. We have to get over an unnamed pass in high winds then drop over 400m to Aguas Calientes. The description we got from the internet was a little confusing, but we eventually make sense out of it. Camp at Aguas Calientes (4,600m).

August 26
Day 5 - After fixing a hole in Yannick's inflatable sleeping pad, we move our camp to the Illampu High Camp (5,400m) in the moraine near a nice water source. Only 3-4 hours of effort to get there but that is more than enough after the last 2 exhausting days at altitude. We take it easy for the rest of the day, despite the tent being shaken by strong wind for hours.      

August 27
Day 6 - When the alarm rings at 3:15am, the wind has died. At 4:00am we head up the moraine ridge towards the Illampu headwall. As we reach the glacier and gear up for glacier/ice climbing, the day breaks. The headwall is about 50 degrees and with 4 ice screws and 1 picket for protection, we are able to surmount the headwall in about 2 hours of simul-climbing. The rest of the ridge is fairly easy but patchy with deep snow and the finish to the summit consists of 3m of nearly vertical snow. We make it onto the summit of Illampu (6,368m), the hardest 6000m peak in Bolivia, at 1:00pm. We lucked out with the weather yet again. It is warm and windless. We get back down the ridge to the saddle in under an hour, then 2 hours to get down the headwall. Shirley is on rappel and Yannick downclimbs since there was no picket left from previous parties...strangely! 
 Back at camp at 5pm.

August 28
Day 7 - Food supplies are running low and we are going down the mountain a different way than we came up. So we ration ourselves and start early. We pass by a couple nice villages on our way down to Sorata and end up spending another night in our tent on the soccer field.

August 29
We take the 5am collectivo for the 4-hour ride to La Paz. Once in the big town, we change hotels for one that has CABLE TV...time to celebrate after summiting TEN 6000m peaks this summer. 

August 30
Sick last night (especially Yannick)...some kind of food poisoning. We spend the entire day in the hotel room, enjoying HBO. We were packed up to do another big peak (Illimani) but it isn't going to work out.

August 31
Getting better healthwise but still feeling pretty weak. Glad we have TV in the hotel to stay entertained. Later in the day, we go buy our bus ticket to head back to Lima. In precisely one week, we will resume our bicycle ride to Ushuaia from where we left off. It looks like our friend Steve (from Lima) will be riding with us from Lima to Cusco (which should take about 2 weeks)...we're excited!
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


miki on

I hope that you guys are well now. Lima to Cusco sounds good! I wish I could join you guys somewhere around there!! Have fun for me, too!! I try hard and imagine that I am with you guys and enjoying the trip instead of being at work! :)

The Trans on

Happy Birthday Shirley!!!!!!!
Hope you have a GREAT one!!!!!!!!!!!

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: