Illimani is the highest mountain in the Cordillera Real of western Bolivia. It lies just south of La Paz at the eastern edge of the Altiplano. It is the second highest peak in Bolivia, after Nevado Sajama, and the eighteenth highest peak in South America. The snow line lies at about above sea level, and glaciers are found on the northern face at . The mountain has four main peaks; the highest is the south summit, Nevado Illimani, which is a popular ascent for mountain climbers.
Geologically, Illimani is composed primarily of granodiorite, intruded during the Cenozoic era into the sedimentary rock which forms the bulk of the Cordillera Real.Yossi Brain, Bolivia: a climbing guide, The Mountaineers, 1999, ISBN 0-89886-495-X. Some sources claim that Illimani is an extinct stratovolcano, but this is not correct. In fact none of the peaks of the Cordillera Real are volcanic; see Tom Simkin and Lee Siebert, Volcanoes of the World (second edition), Smithsonian Institution/Geoscience Press, 1994, ISBN 0-945005-12-1.
Illimani is quite visible from the city of La Paz and is its major landmark. The mountain has been the subject of many local songs, most importantly "Illimani", with the following refrain: "Illimani, Illimani, sentinela tu eres de La Paz! Illimani, Illimani, patrimonio eres de Bolivia!"
Illimani was first attempted in 1877 by C. Wiener, J. de Grumkow, and J. C. Ocampo. They failed to reach the main summit, but did reach a southeastern subsummit. In 1898, British climber William Martin Conway and two Swiss guides, A. Maquignaz and L. Pellissier, made the first recorded ascent of the peak, again from the southeast. Lindsay Griffin, "Illimani", in World Mountaineering, Audrey Salkeld, editor, Bulfinch Press, 1998, ISBN 0-8212-2502-2, pp. 254-257.
The current standard route on the mountain climbs the west ridge of the main summit. It was first climbed in 1940, by the Germans R. Boetcher, F. Fritz, and W. Kuhn, and is graded French PD+/AD-.. This route usually requires four days, whereas the summit is reached in the morning of the third day.
Illimani on Peakware
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