Condoriri -  Cabeza del Condor (5648m) and
Pequeño Alpamayo (5370m)


Mike took a flight back to Sweden. I (Olof) decided that I wanted to do another climb and teamed up with John that I climbed on Sajama with. At first we planned to go to Illimani, but there was problems between the farmers and the government once again, so the roads were blocked. We decided to go to Condoriri instead because the roads were not blocked in that direction. In Condoriri there are several classic peaks. One of the peaks is Cabeza del Condor (The Condors Head) that has two knife sharp ridges that leads to the summit, hence resembling it to a condor that is spreading its wings to fly. This peak is also called "Bolivias Matterhorn".
Another classic peak in the area that is quite beautiful is Pequeño Alpamayo.

19th of July 2001
John and I got a free ride with Hugo, the doctor that owns the Refugio at Huayna Potosi.
He was two hours late, as all other Bolivians always are, always delayed. The trip to Tuni went well, and from there we continued by foot. John hired a porter while I imitated a mule and carried all of my stuff as usual. We reached base camp Condoriri in 2h 40min and there was 30 tents there! Not only climbers but also trekkers..
We put our tent up and cooked something to eat. Our plan was to climb Cabeza del Condor next morning.

Approach to Condoriri base camp.

Condoriri base camp.
20th of July 2001
We got up at 03:00 and started boiling water. The breakfast was Johns homemade muesli with sugar and milk. Delicious!. We left camp at 04:20. The pace was quite alright and we were beyond the moraine after a while. There was supposed to be a gravel slope from hell along the route. But a lot of snow had fallen so it was a snow field instead, which made it a lot easier. We climbed a couloir that lead to the glacier just beneath the peak. Then we tied into a rope and walked over the glacier without any trouble. There is a 50-60 degree couloir from the glacier plateau that led us to the ridge. In front of us lay on of the most beautiful ridges in Bolivia..

We climbed the ridge and looked at all the peaks in the area from the summit. It took us about 6 hours to reach the summit. There was no problems descending the peek except the gravel slope where it seemed like there was some rock fall, which made us a bit nervous.

Olof on Cabeza del condor.

Olof on Cabeza del condor.

John and Olof on the top of Cabeza del condor.

After 10 hours of climbing we reached the base camp again and basked in the sun.. John told me that his knees were hurting and that he could not climb the next day. He decided to go back to La Paz. There was not much else for me to do. I decided to solo Pequeño Alpamayao...

Pequeño Alpamayo (5370m)

21st of July 2001

I got up by myself at 03:00 and lit the stove. It is lonely and hard to prepare yourself on your own. I only brought the equipment that was necessary. I left 04:10 heading towards Pequeño Alpamayo. I decided to move fast and passed four climbers that left camp 30 minutes earlier in the moraine.
Up on the glacier I was totally alone. I knew that a lot of people climbed the normal route and I found a path. My biggest worry was the crevasses but they were small. I mentioned to John the day before that I might attempt the North Face instead of the normal route. it was another path so that way would make the approach shorter. The path was supposed to split into two paths and I planned to take the right one. Unfortunately I never saw the right path and continued towards the normal route..

I ascended the first peak (Tarija) and dawn was starting to light up the sky. By then i had understood that I missed the path to the North Face but then I saw the South West Face and knew that I wanted to do it...
Beneath the wall I could see that someone had climbed it before but the tracks were faint. I arrived at the bergschrund and found a snow bridge. I leaned over and secured my ice axes .

Olof''s self portrait solo on Pequeño Alpamayo.

Not yet translated from Swedish:
Väl uppe på väggen ville jag röra mig fort för att minska riskerna. 65 graders is/neve gjorde att jag rörde mig fort. Efter 10min hade jag klattrat halva väggen och säkrade in mig med en snösäkring och gjorde mitt bästa for att ta ett kort och hämtade andan igen. Det var en otrolig frihet att kunna röra sig sa fort på den höjden. Jag rörde mig uppåt igen och 15 min senare var jag nära toppen men snön blev sämre vilket var lite nevöst när  man är solo på en 65 graders vägg. Det gick dock bra och jag lyckades säkra en yxa på toppen där det var bra is och drog mig över kanten. Jag hade klättrat fortare än någonsin tidigare kändes det som. Tre timmar tog det mig att nå toppen. Soluppgången från toppen av Pequeño Alpamayo var fantastisk!
Efter lite godis, vatten och några kort begav jag mig nedför kammen som är normalvägen. Jag gick nedfor glaciären och mötte de andra klättrarna.
Efter att enbart ha klättrat i 4h 31min var jag tillbaka i basecamp. I tid till frukosten...
Dagen efter plockade jag ihop tält och grejer och begav mig till La Paz. Ingen mer klattring i Bolivia denna gång...

Olof on the top of Pequeño Alpamayo.



Photos & Text Copyright © Swedish Apolobamba Expedition 2001