Friday, July 4, 2014

Ode to Tiquimani

My ode to Tiquimani with apologies to Keats, of course:

Ever since I came to Bolivia, I have had a huge desire to climb Tiquimani because of the view from Zongo.  The obvious line of snow and ice rising narrowly to the summit just beckons.  But the lower half is obscured.  Finally, we spent a day checking out the whole face.

First, we drove past the northeast aspect of Huayna Potosi (about 20,000') which has had one known ascent despite its fairly solid granite (really):

The rock of Tiquimani, on the other hand, is some vague metamorphic stuff and I don't mean that in a nice way.

Scary face time:

There is a road that goes quite close to the base after a few miles of uphill but it is locked at the bottom:

Still looking great from this angle:

Starting to see the issue:  loose snow over loose rock at the bottom.


This photo shows the so-called "normal route" which has had a very small number of ascents but looks doable if you can manage the rock ridge above:

Big face (1500m vertical):

More detail from the base where we observed frequent rockfall.  Maybe it is quieter in the winter months (June/July).

Another view of the "normal route" which appeared to us as the only non-suicidal way up the face.

Taking in the view.  Some faces inspire but this one just left me scared.

Walking back to the car:

The jagged ridge has been climbed but the rock is not very good:

So it looks like the initial pitches decide it.  If there is ice, the central couloir looks incredible but, with loose snow on bad rock, it isn't for me.  Also, it would be great if you can find someone to unlock the gate to remove the initial few miles of trudging from the equation.  The normal route is also an option but the upper ridge looks steep on crappy rock but maybe it's not too bad.  And then there is the descent.

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