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Ancohuma Climb - Climbing Cordillera Real - Bolivia

Mount Ancohuma (6,427 meters) is found in the northern part of the Cordillera Real. It’s the largest peak in the Ancohuma Illampu Massif, situated to the south-east of Mount Illampu. It was first climbed in the early 20th century, and remains one of the least climbed 6,000 meter plus mountains in Bolivia. Its isolation and stature makes it one of the most respected mountains by the local Aymara people. As with all the mountains in the Ancohuma Illampu massive, Sorata is the base to climb the mountain.


The mountain can be approached from two access routes, via Laguna Glacier or from Cocoya. The normal route climbs the south-west face and is reached from Cocoya. It’s a grade 1 climb and has ascents of up to 45 degrees. There are numerous other climbs on the mountain, the ascent for the north-west ridge is described below.


Access via Cocoya


The most common method to get to Cocoya is to commission a jeep in Sorata. The journey takes about five hours. From there you should be able to hire llamas to help you carry your gear to the base camp at Laguna Jacha Leche Khota, or the black lake. From Cocoya to the lake is about six hours, so it’s best to take two days to reach base camp from Sorata.


Alternatively, you can walk from Sorata. You will need to ascend over 1,300 meters to the village of Lakathiya, north-east of Sorata. From here you walk up to the pass at Abra Ilamapu, before dropping down to the village of Ancoma. From here you can walk to Cocoya. From Sorata to base camp should take you four days, and involves four to six hours of trekking a day.


Normal route – Southwest face


The normal route doesn’t present any major difficulties, but it’s long. From base camp you need to climb up the right side of the mountain face, then head up the summit until you reach the highest point. The ascent should take between seven and nine hours. You descend the same way.


Access via Laguna Glacier


From Sorata, you’ll need to hike up 1,700 meters to the abandoned mining settlement at Titisani, which will take about six hours with mules. From here it’s a three hour trek to Laguna Glacier, where you can camp, or continue for another three hours to the edge of the glacier. From here you follow the right hand side of the glacier and will need to rope up to pass a number of crevasses. You should aim to camp just before the final glacier.


North-west ridge


This is a grade III climb with fantastic views of Mount Illampu. While climbing the final glacier, you need to head towards the left side of the summit. From here, head for the ridge and continue along it. When you reach the end of the ridge, you need to continue along the summit until you reach its peak. To descend, it’s easiest to go down the south-west face to the glacier, and then return to high camp.


Here are other activities in and around Cordillera Real that may be of interest: Condoriri Massif Climb, Huayna PotosĂ­ Climb, Cordillera Real Climbing and Illimani .

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