Illampu (6,368m) is the second highest mountain of the Illampu massive. This complex, isolated massive is located northeast of La Paz. The highest peak of this massive is 6,427 meter high Ancohuma.
Big, high and difficult. These three words describe Illampu the best. Illampu is the most difficult 6.000 meter peak in Bolivia. Every route to the summit of this giant is a serious climb. There is just no easy route, and the hardest climbs in Bolivia have been done on this mountain.
The south west ridge route starts at the base of the south west face on a glacier with the beautiful name Laguna Glaciar. It is only here where we will decide what the exact route will be. This depends on the seracs (large masses of ice) on the top of the face. The height of the main face is 300 meters. Besides the seracs, there are some other factors that can not be ignored. One of these things is the large Bergschrund (this is a kind of crevasse, between the glacier and the actual wall) that we have to cross. An other thing is we will have to descent early. Being a west face, the face will be in the full afternoon sun, and snow and ice conditions will deteriorate. When we have climbed the west face, the summit ridge will be the only thing that separates us from the summit. The last 80 meters of this ridge is very steep (65 degrees) and exposed. This route was opened by a Austrian/German team in 1928.