After great discovery of Quimsa Cruz , return and rest in La Paz is well appreciated to recharge batteries and go to our main goal of our trip, the south face of Illimani.
After 3 days at Lapaz, the weather is there, go!
south face of Illimani with the route of our way red and yellow route of an existing road that we borrow in the first half of the face:
With Aldo Riveros, High Mountain Guide Bolivia and Gustavo, we come in 4×4 to the disused mine used to base camp, we save a half day walk:
On June 3, we reach the foot of the face to bivouac there.
Manu was the moraine of the glacier that has greatly declined in recent years. Left side of the face we opened our route is 1,200 meters high, the right of the face is attractive but serac barrier at its top cut all desires:
But when the alarm rang at 1 hour 30mins, the stove acts up and you can’t make it work … It didn’t begin very well!
Without warming the intended route in 2 camp becomes impossible. We decide go down to the abandoned mine to look for plastic bottles to try our luck. At the mine, among the broken bottles and those who feel strong ether and gasoline, we choose 4 bottles that we inspire more or less confidence.
The early return to the mine and our 4 water bottles:
We decide to leave on June 5 at the mine to the south side. The objective has changed and we choose a line that seems possible in 2 days. We swapped our stove and our savory lyoph for 8L cold water, energy bars and two chocolate drinks … the comfort it will be for another time!
We start from the mine at 3:30. After spending the bergschrund to 5200m, the first lengths flow well in the easy joint that does not exceed the M4.
Manu on the glacier at the foot of the face at dawn:
In the first part of the face with a few no mixed:
We quickly understand that the rock provides little location for our friends, and we are pleased to have with us four peaks.
The first snow slope of a hundred meters before abut under ice lengths:
Manu was the snow slope:
At the end of the first day, we climb a beautiful length of ice 5+ forcing the leader to put his bag.
Manu in lengths of ice that leads to the foot of the steep length:
The stiff length of the first day:
Up to this point, according to the different topos we have, we take the paths opened by Gabarrou, Mesili and Jeager. After this length, the route we take seems to be a virgin.
Then we climb a snow couloir for 100m in a 50 ° slope before finding a camp site.After 2 hours playing ice axes, we get to put our tent at 5800m.
Manu join me at our location we will defeat the tent to ask:
The tent is placed!
The evening meal is dry fruit base and a cold chocolate drink … a treat! As throughout the day we keep on our water bottles to prevent freezing during the night.
The next day, after finishing up the snow corridor, we stumble beneath a ledge rock. That was the question mark of our line because it was impossible to see the bottom of the jump . But at the base we find a beautiful veneer ice Manu hastens to climb.
Manu at the foot of the plating of the second day:
We climb the veneer length two, the first in 4+:
The second in 5:
It is a good length of ice 5 that allows us to lead to 6000 meters. After this length, the difficulties are past and the passages in ice do not exceed 70 °:
At the foot of the last ice projection:
Then we climb snow slopes on the last 200 meters of the face.
We were concerned to find the bad powdery snow , but ultimately it is a pleasant surprise in the proper snow:
I agree with Manu in the last relay of the rock face:
The final snow slope offers incredible lines of leaks:
Then we came out on the long flat summit ridge is where the trail to the summit will be long and exhausting, but really class landscape:
Manu at the top with a strong wind that we welcome:
At the top 17H, we drink our last sip of water, enjoy the beautiful panorama and strong wind pushes us to begin the long descent to the base camp of the normal route we reach to 23H where we Bolivia welcome with a bottle of Coca Cola and crackers, the dream!
A big thank you to Aldo and all Bolivians guides for their welcome and advice throughout our trip.
We found that Bolivia was a great country with very friendly people, and simple logistics through the many taxis and buses to reach different parts of the country, and the beautiful mountain climbing to be done in all levels.
In short do not hesitate to check it out!