The Cordillera Apolobamba is to the north of Lago Titicaca and crosses the border into Peru. Because of the remote location and lack of roads in this region the Cordillera Apolobamba is rarely visited by tourists. When we were there (primo July 2002) we did not meet one single person in a week while in the mountains.
As a result of remote location and lack of maps and information climbing in Cordillera Apolobamba is more adventurous compared to climbing in Cordillera Real. In Apolobamba you will almost for certain be the only group on the mountain and there is no track to follow. Please also remember that you are completely on your own if something goes wrong. On the other hand that's the beauty of it.
The easiest route on Ascarani is the northwest ridge route, AD-, 50 degrees, 300 m, starting at Collado Inglés, from where it is also possible to climb Soral Oeste (5641 m).
The bus from La Paz to Pelechuco leaves from El Alto on Wednesdays at 8 am. The trip takes 18-24 hours. The return bus from Pelechuco to La Paz leaves Friday and Sunday at 7 pm (as of 2002). Do not count on arranging private transport when in Pelechuco. If you want private transport it should be arranged in La Paz.
Pelechuco is situated at 3600 m and the village offers only a few shops selling the basics, a couple of lodgings and a staffed medical post. Bring all your stuff from La Paz and don't count on buying supplies in Pelechuco. Mules can be hired in Pelechuco if necesary.
From Pelechuco it is a long days hike up Valle Macara to the base of Ascarani. Several places to establish base camp are found on the pampa. However it is recommended to establish base camp on the moraine towards Collado Inglés from where the easiest route starts.
When To Climb
June, July and August are the best months to climb. Snow conditions are better in the earlier part of the season.
There are no shelters in the area. Bring a tent and camp wherever you want.
The guide agencies have not much updated info on climbing there as they almost never arrange tours in Cordillera Apolobamba. Club Andino Boliviano at Calle Mexico 1638 might have some info.
The weather in Cordillera Apolobamba is normally not as stable as the Cordillera Real. Even during the dry season it often snows in Apolobamba.
Maps and Litterature
BIGM sheet 3041 'Pelechuco' 1:100.000 which is almost impossible to get. The guide agency Andean Summits at Calle Sagárnaga 189 in La Paz has an old xerox copy.
Boundary Commission of the Royal Geographic Society, 1911-13 and updated by Paul Hudson in 1993. Published by RGS, London. The map has mistakes but at least around Valle Macara almost all the peaks are present at the map.
Brain, Y. (1999): 'Bolivia - A Climbing Guide'
Mesili, A. (2002): 'Los Andes de Bolivia - Guia de Escaladas', is in Spanish. It has good maps and describes some of the harder routes, mainly in Cordillera Real.