Ascent of Cerro Cunurana on 2010-12-30

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Petter Bjørstad
Adam Helman
Greg Slayden
Adam Walker
Duane Gilliland
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, December 30, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Cerro Cunurana
    Elevation:16637 ft / 5070 m

Ascent Trip Report

We climbed this peak the day after our Cerro Rico ascent. We were acclimatising for a planned Ojos del Salado ascent and had arrived in Bolivia at different times following the Christmas break and this was the first time all six of us had climbed as a team.

Heading S out of Potosi on Highway 1 we turned off L (NE) at S19.88090, W65.68033, followed a good dirt road for 0.8km to cross a bridge then turned L (NW) at S19.87641, W65.67451 onto a narrow dirt road (reasonable condition). In approx 7km we passed through an open barrier then passed through a mine area (Ingenio Jukhucha). There were people around but no-one seemed concerned so we drove on, keeping L of the river, gradually climbing the dirt road. It bent R, with a very attractive peak straight ahead, then passed the strikingly beautiful green Laguna Santa Catalina then climbing the R slope above the laguna. We eventually stopped at a fork where the road worsened - the driver didn´t fancy it although our Toyota Landcruisers would have managed it easily, as it turned out. This was our trailhead, at S19.79361, W65.65940, 4566m.

We hiked the R fork which rises gradually, forked R again at S19.78836, 65.65583, 4692m then passed another attractive, circular lake. The track now climbs to end at the ruined mine buildings of Mina Andecaba. It is easiest to pass L of these. We ascended direct to the col ahead (to the E) although on our subsequent descent we took the more direct line: in ascent you would head R up the spur to reach the N ridge of the mountain. The N ridge narrows, then there is a step down of 2-5m. We passed L of its summit and descended the step (there are various ways: the easiest is an open chimney, YDS 3). Beyond this is another rise. We bypassed this on its L on steep slopes although we later discovered it is easier (and nicer) to go straight over it as there is no step down. After a flat area is a steepish ascent, a little loose in places. We took a fairly direct line in ascent keeping to the firmer ground.

The summit is at S19.80204, W65.65292, 5071m (GPSr), cairn, "2002" triangulation station (metal plate in small concrete plinth just S of cairn). This compared with a Winprom (SRTM) elev of 5021m, Bolivian 1:50,000 map 5056m. NB the trig, if "2002" refers to the date, is considerably more recent than the map (1970s).

After 35 minutes enjoying the views from this fairly complex and attractive mountain we headed down, initially keeping R to take advantage of the looser more "runnable" ground. We went straight over the first bump (it has a nice narrow rocky ridge - not exposed) then chose our various scrambly ways up the 2nd bump (I took the chimney to the L then claimed its summit (about P5m!). From the end of the ridge we descended direct to the ruined buildings, missing out the saddle.

Timings: Potosi 0630, leave TH 0815, summit 0955-1030, TH 1130

NOTE: the GPX track extends to the main highway.

On the drive out, we found the mine barrier closed! The drivers got out and talked to the man in the kiosk, the man headed off presumably to find someone. We then discovered the barrier wasn´t locked, so we opened it and headed off down! This underlines the rather uncertain nature of access here. An alternative may be to leave Route 1 further N at S19.78012, W65.74226. On the old map this makes a loop with our southern approach although there may have been some changes since and the road's condition is unknown.

We spent the afternoon driving the dirt road south to Tupiza (4 hrs) where we stocked upon currency, bottled water and gasoline. We then drove the spectacular unpaved Route 14 NW towards Santa Barbara. The scenery was impressive, the light superb in the last 2 hours of daylight. At sundown we camped at the roadside at 4070m, nicely set up for tomorrow's ascent of Cerro Chorolque - the first Ultra of our trip.

Photos: Cerro Cunurana ascent

Travel photos: Potosi to Ollague
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1755 ft / 533 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1755 ft / 533 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.2 mi / 5.1 km
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1706 ft / 519 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1657 ft / 505 m; Extra: 49 ft / 14m
    Loss on way in:49 ft / 14 m
    Distance:1.6 mi / 2.5 km
    Route:N ridge
    Start Trailhead:Mina Andecaba access road  14980 ft / 4565 m
    Time:1 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1706 ft / 519 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1657 ft / 505 m; Extra: 49 ft / 14m
    Gain on way out:49 ft / 14 m
    Distance:1.6 mi / 2.6 km
    Route:N ridge
    End Trailhead:Mina Andecaba access road  14980 ft / 4565 m
    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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