Monypenny - Mcghie, new route on PK2, Bolivia
The interview to James Monypenny30 October 2017
This October, James Monypenny and Harry Mcghie putted up a new route on the PK24, in the remote east of Illampu, Bolivia. We asked James to tell us about this line, and more generally about their projects in this area.
Hi James, thanks to give us your time during the expeition..Would you like to recount us about this new route?
We actually went into the East side of Illampu hoping to do a new route on the East face. This whole area looks really inspiring and hasn't seen much attention since the 70's ; probably because it's more remote. But the poor weather and my partner's lack of acclimatizarion ment we turned out attention to the more rocky objectives. There's allot of rock and not allot of routes. At first we went to try a new line on pk Maria but after a couple pitches quickly realized that the face we were trying was going to be extremely hard, and so we traversed onto another route that was already established; that was very good. Our new route on pk 24 took two attempts as the first try, most of the way up we got caught out in a thunder storm (most days there was a storm close by). Each attempt we decided to chose a new way so that it was new and interesting. On our sucsessfull attempt there was a big storm just down the valley, but thankfully it never properly found us (just some snow and wind). We probably would have bailed earlier if it wasn't for the fact that this was the end of our time together and therefore out last opportunity to do the new route. The start of the route was really hard; both ways we tried was hard free and aid climbing in dirty cracks. But the higher we climbed the nicer the rock became. We topped out just as it was getting dark, and the thunder was getting closer. Rappeling down went Well, despite a dropped belay device, and we somehow managed to rappel the entire cliff only leaving cord and no gear; mostly because I'm stubborn and cheap so will always search for spikes.
Our camp was in the most beautiful spot: a flat boulder pearched on steep ground. Every night a sea of clouds would swirl just below, and the full moon would rise just after sunset.
What is the name of the route?
Let's go with the "monypenny-mcghie" 5.11 750m. (This name is in the tradition of the area, all other routes are surnames, I just think it's funny, because me and Harry both have funny reputations, so I like to think one day someone who knows us would see this name and laugh).
Any projects for the other days to come?
Right now in Bolivia I'm wanting to climb solo and fly off with my paraglider. So a couple days ago I climbed huayna potosi 6325m by the French route AD+ and flew from close to the summit. It was beautiful. I'd like to try the South face illimani and fly from the top next, if the weather God's will allow it. There's allot of areas I want to visit and climb new routes: quizma cruz, avellano towers, chalten, Torres Del paine, san Lorenzo, El Hermano, cochamo.......so much to do!
Interview by Eva Toschi