Ascent of Cerro Rico on 2010-12-29

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Petter Bjørstad
Adam Helman
Date:Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Cerro Rico
    Elevation:15719 ft / 4791 m

Ascent Trip Report

The famous silvermine peak. 4824m on Bolivian 1:50,000 map, 4791m GPSr (my and Petter´s agreed closely, reading to sub-3m horizontal accuracy). Winprom based on SRTM was also much lower, consistent with GPSr.

We climbed this the day after Cerro Wila Chanca. Arriving at Potosi from Route 1 southbound, it seems there is no bypass so we drove straight through the very busy city centre (narrow old streets - quite a nice place), then taking the road which leads up towards Route 5 / Route 1. We turned off R at S19.60604, W65.74249, 4152m and drove up to the first buildings. Here was a small stall and a young boy selling stones/minerals from the mountain. We gathered via Adam that there are a lot of private land issues related to the mining operations (tin nowadays) but (suprise!) the young lad knew a way up. We continued up in our 4x4 to a point where the road was blocked by a mining truck: this became our trailhead, at S19.60860, W65.74712, 4277m.

Our 14 year-old guide led us up a seemingly rather random route, with quite a few steep loose sections linked by stretches of quarry road. We were hailed by a man in a helmet at one point, but only to warn us we could be caught by a thunderstorm. Higher up we emerged onto a rocky ridge, followed this to some kind of comms installation (people there were perfectly friendly - no problems), passed L of this (I noted what looked like a triangulation point or bench mark, rather new-looking, S19.61822 W65.74966, 4770m) and in 100m were at the summit. The very summit is a loose construction of stone and mortar, adding approx 1.5m to the highest visible rocks. S19.61867 W65.74979, 4791m (GPSr). A couple of other points nearby were slightly lower.

The summit view is good: E to a decent looking crater; SSE to a 5000m/P1100m summit (Cunurana) which we plan to climb tomorrow, N towards the now familiar Altiplano.

With rain and (probably) thunder approaching, we soon head down a few hundred m before taking lunch while admiring the view across Potosi spread out in the wide basin below. The route down is quite a bit different to our ascent route - I suspect our "guide" never goes the same way twice! However he did the job and we were quite happy with the arrangement. Not the most scenic of summits but interesting and it suited our acclimatisatioin schedule, being 100m higher than Cerro Wila Chanka which we´d climbed the previous day.

NOTE: the GPX track extends to the main highway.

The next day we climbed Cerro Cunurana a little further south.

Cerro Rico and Potosi photos
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1687 ft / 514 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.4 mi / 3.8 km
    Route:NE face
    Trailhead:S19.60860, W65.74712  14032 ft / 4276 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 2+
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 10 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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