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The Bolivian Andes; a record of climbing & exploration in the Cordillera Real in the years 1898 and 1900 online

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ON THE ROCK-WALL OF ILLIMANI



THE



BOLIVIAN ANDES



A RECORD OF CLIMBING 6- EX FLORA TION

IN THE CORDILLERA REAL IN THE

YEARS 1898 AND 1900



BY

SIR MARTIN, CONWAY
it



ILLUSTRATED




LONDON AND NEW YORK

HARPER 6- BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

1901





Copyright, 1901, by HARPER & BROTHERS.

All rights reserved.
May, igor.

* Jitu Yurie, U. S. A



TO

GEN. JOSfi MANUEL PANDO
PRESIDENT

OF THE

REPUBLIC OF BOLIVIA



166960



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. LONDON TO COLON i

II. THE ISTHMUS OF PANAMA 16

III. A CENTRAL AMERICAN REVOLUTION 24

IV. PANAMA TO LIMA 34

V. LIMA TO LAKE TITICACA 51

VI. LAKE TITICACA TO LA PAZ 63

VII. LA PAZ 77

VIII. LA PAZ TO COTAST A 89

IX. THE FERTILE SLOPES OF ILLIMANI 104

X. ILLIMANI : THE LOWER SLOPES 113

XL ILLIMANI : THE ROCK- WALL 122

XII. ILLIMANI: THE FINAL CLIMB 132

XIII. RETURN TO LA PAZ 145

XIV. PREPARING TO ASCEND SORATA 154

XV. THE APPROACH TO MOUNT SORATA 160

XVI. OBSTACLES TO ASCENT OF SORATA 172

XVII. FIRST ATTEMPT ON MOUNT SORATA 184

XVIII. VISIT TO SORATA TOWN 192

XIX. THE RUBBER INDUSTRY 203

XX. THE EASTERN VALLEYS 219

XXI. CLIMBING ANCOHUMA 228

XXII. SURVEYING UNDER DIFFICULTIES 240

XXIII. THE GOLD-MINE OF^ CUSANACO 257

XXIV. THE YANI MINE 267

XXV. ASCENT OF PE^AS HILL 274

XXVI. TIN-MINES OF HUAINA POTOSI 291

XXVII. LAST RIDE OVER THE PUNA 300

XXVIII. LA PAZ TO ORURO 312

XXIX. ORURO TO THE PACIFIC 324

APPENDIX 343

BIBLIOGRAPHY 398

INDEX 401

v



ILLUSTRATIONS



ON THE ROCK-WALL OF ILLIMANI Frontispiece.

A PEASANT'S HUT, JAMAICA )

> Facing p. 10
ARCH OF TRIUMPH AT JACMEL J.

PANAMA CATHEDRAL >

PALM AVENUE, PANAMA )

LADING CATTLE \

A BALSA LADEN WITH PETROLEUM i"

ON THE OROYA RAILROAD ) (( ,

TERRACED HILL-SIDE f

THE SUMMIT OF THE OROYA RAILWAY " 48

THE PAMPA OF AREQUIPA 54

THE OUTSKIRTS OF AREQUIPA " 56

AREQUIPA PLAZA (_ lt g

AREQUIPA CATHEDRAL TOWERS i

A BALSA ON LAKE TITICACA " 64

A TILBURY 7

CONGRESS BUILDING, LA PAZ 7$

THE GUIDES LADING A MULE .



90
AN INDIAN WEAVING

THE LA PAZ VALLEY " 92

ROAD UP EARTH PYRAMIDS IN THE LA PAZ

VALLEY 94

A DONKEY CARAVAN IN THE LA PAZ VALLEY . )

THE LA PAZ VALLEY >

THE LA PAZ VALLEY ROAD )

NEAR HUARICANA )

COTANA 104

ILLIMANI AND THE PIC DE PARIS FROM ABOVE

CAIMBAYA " 114

THE GLACIERS OF ILLIMANI " Il6

THE FLANK OF ILLIMANI " Il8

vii



ILLUSTRATIONS

INDIAN PORTERS



FROM THE TOP OF THE ROCKS, ILLIMANI l Facing p. I2O



A HEAVY LOAD



124



PREPARING TO CAMP ON ILLIMANI 126

ON THE TOP OF ILLIMANI >

HIGHEST CAMP ON ILLIMANI \

THE SKIRTS OF ILLIMANI'S GLACIERS " 132

THE CULMINATING SNOW-FIELD FROM THE PICO

DEL INDIO " 134

ILLIMANI FROM THE COHONI ROAD }

ILLIMANI AND THE PICO DEL INDIO FROM r " 138

ABOVE THE HIGHEST CAMP )

THE DESCENT OF ILLIMANI " 142

ILLIMANI FROM THE COHONI ROAD " 148

THE OUTSKIRTS OF ACHACACHE



AN INDIAN FUNERAL )

ACHACACHE CHURCH )

INDIAN CHILDREN f

MOUNT SORATA " 174

ROCKTOOTH CAMP (SECOND) ON MOUNT SORATA . " 180

H AUK AN A PEAK AND GLACIER " 184

THE COL NEAR ROCKTOOTH CAMP



HAUKANA PEAK '

DRAGGING SLEDGE UP MOUNT SORATA " i8&

HOISTING SLEDGE AMONG THE BIG CREVASSES

OF MOUNT SORATA " 190

A HALT AMONG THE SERACS OF MOUNT SORATA . " 192
MOUNT SORATA IN CLOUDS FROM NEAR THE

HUALLATA PASS " 198

ANCOHUMA FROM THE UPPER SNOW-FIELD ... " 234

CHULPA ON ABICHACA HILL " 244

EARTH PYRAMIDS ON THE WAY TO THE ALTO

DE ANIMAS " 252

MR. N. E. BIEBER AT THE TOP OF THE ALTO DE

ANIMAS " 254

GORGE IN THE PALCA VALLEY " 258

MINERS' HUTS AT CUSANACO " 260

ALTO DE ANIMAS )

THE PALCA VALLEY ROAD f

'THE FORCE" )

THE CUSANACO GOLD-MINE ]

viii



ILLUSTRATIONS

RUINED CHAPEL ON THE TOP OF PEN AS HILL . . Facing p. 2&2

SHRINE ON PENAS HILL )

HUT NEAR THE TOP OF PENAS HILL J

THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF MOUNT CACA-ACA ... " 292

MOUNT CACA-ACA " 294

BETWEEN LA PAZ AND ORURO " 314

A BAGGAGE WAGON " 320

LAVA STREAM ON THE PAMPA )

VOLCANO AND SALT-PLAIN NEAR UYUNI . . . )

BOLIVIAN MINERALS 351, 363

BOLIVIAN FOSSILS 389




OF THE.
UNIVERSITY

OF



THE BOLIVIAN ANDES



CHAPTER I
LONDON TO COLON

TO live im Ganzen, to experience in full the charm,
the joy, the opportunity of life, has always been
the aim of healthful manhood; but thus to live
is over and over again to find that "what was once
precious is become indifferent." Each new experience
is enjoyed at the expense of its predecessor, each new
interest supplants the one that went before. The travel-
ler, especially the exploring traveller, is perhaps more
inevitably conscious of this succession of interests than
are men of any other category, for to him each new
point of attraction becomes physically visible ahead as
the old one fades away behind or dips below the horizon.
Each goal attained becomes a mere mile-stone of the
way. Also, when a journey is ended, and memory
takes the place of sight, the mind no longer trudges
on from successive scene to scene, but, isolating this
or that vision of paramount beauty or interest, dwells
upon it, or leaps with light speed from one to another,
A i



THE BOLIVIAN ANDES

never laboriously retreading the footsteps of connecting
stages.

Authors of books of travel are thus all alike faced
by one initial problem : Shall the writer take the reader
with him along the road, or, like a lantern showman,
shall he display only the choice moments and striking
scenery of the journey? The latter alternative is the
more attractive, but there is an insuperable objection
to it : it takes no account of the fact that scenery that
is to say, the impression produced on the observer's
mind by a scene or an event depends not merely upon
the thing beheld, but upon the nature of the beholder
too, the mood in which he looks, the experiences through
which he has passed, the preparation through which he
has gone. If the Jungfrau Railway is ever finished,
the view from the summit will produce upon travellers
who mount by its long tunnel a very different impres-
sion from that received by a climber who laboriously
fights his way to the top over long glaciers and snow-
fields and up steepening ice-slopes and the final ridge.
A prize seized and possessed as the outcome of long
and well-spent energy will be to its owner a much more
delightful thing than a prize won in a raffle. It is the
difference between a war medal and a five-shilling piece.
If my readers care to feel even a semblance of what I
have felt, they must, in some degree at least, travel the
road with me. I cannot even leap with them from
London to Bolivia, for the eyes that I opened on Bolivia's
lofty plateau had traversed its far and near environ-
ment, and were equipped for interpreting the scene with
something acquired on the way in the long days of land
and sea travel thither.

2



LONDON TO COLON

It was on the I3th of July, 1898, that I sailed from
Southampton by the Royal Mail Company's steamship
Don, the same boat that nineteen years before carried
Mr. Whymper to his famous journey of exploration in
the Great Andes of Ecuador. Like him, I was accom-
panied by two Alpine guides from the village of Val
Tournanche, Antoine Maquignaz and Louis Pellissier
by name. Pellissier had never been from home before,
but Maquignaz, in 1897, was H.R.H. the Duke of the
Abruzzi's leading guide in the journey which resulted
in the first ascent of Mount St. Elias in Alaska. I
took him on the recommendation of his uncle, J. B.
Aymonod, one of the most charming as well as one of
the "best mountain-guides, who accompanied Mr. E. A.
Fitzgerald and me on our Alps from End to End journey
in 1894. How Pellissier was enlisted I forget, or I
would here record my thankfulness to the power that
gave me so admirable a companion. Maquignaz is
the son of Jean Pierre and nephew of Jean Joseph
Maquignaz, two very famous guides, both members
of the first party that ever climbed the Matter-
horn from the Italian side, as readers of Whymper's
Scrambles may remember. Jean Joseph, with Dan-
iel, brother of Antoine Maquignaz, also made the
historic first ascent of the Aiguille du Geant. My
leading guide was thus a representative of one of
the most famous guide families of the Alps.

Early in the afternoon of a lovely day our ves-
sel cast off her moorings and steamed away down
Southampton Water; the sun shone on white-sailed
yachts racing before a merry breeze. A big North
German Lloyd liner turned round beside us, picked

3



THE BOLIVIAN ANDES

up passengers and mails from a tender, and was off
again, westward ho! Two hours later she was out of
sight ahead. Of all the chief ocean entries to England
this by the Needles is incomparably the finest, the
most beautiful, the great historic approach; what
greetings and farewells have saluted those white
blades thrust upward from the blue sea!

Four days of pleasant monotony followed, each a
little warmer than the one before. Such wind as
blew followed in our wake and scarcely rocked the
ship. All this time we were in the West Indies; for
it is one of the charms of ocean travel in a big liner
that the moment you have sailed you are in the coun-
try towards which you are sailing. In a yacht, wher-
ever you go, you remain at home, for the home party
surrounds you ; but in a public liner you at once form
part of a company most of whom belong to the place
of destination. An outward-bound P. & 0. is a piece
of India; an outward-bound Cunarder is the United
States in miniature. Our Royal Mail boat was an
epitome of the West Indies. The moment we sailed
England became a memory to all; their holiday was
ended, they were returning to their respective homes.
At Barbados, the great West Indian junction, they
would scatter to all their islands, from St. Kitts to
Trinidad and south to Demerara. A few would come
on to Jamaica, and very few to Colon for Central Amer-
ica; only three or four were bound with me for Peru.
No sooner, then, was our English coast lost in the
summer haze than their talk was of the West Indies,
of the sugar industry especially, and of "bounties";
of fruit-growing, and the need of swift steamers to

4



LONDON TO COLON

pour the oranges and bananas and mangoes of Ja-
maica into the London markets; of local politics and
problems, the need for retrenchment in public ex-
penditures; of the negro and labor questions in some
of their infinite forms; of land questions, of possible
new industries, and what not.

Such talk with a number of men, each of whom
knows by experience the difficulties of his own prob-
lem, is the best preparation for viewing their country,
which swiftly gains actuality and ceases to be a mere
figure on a map. Charts are produced, descriptions
given, plans for the employment of one's time suggest-
ed, invitations hospitably tendered. Thus what a few
days before was but a name takes form in one's mind
as solid ground. The various islands begin to have
each an individuality of its own. As one walks the
deck with a fellow-passenger after the morning bath,
or in the intervals of squash cricket or some other
game, the stone walls of reserve fall down; the man
tells his tale to a sympathetic companion you hear
of his home, in Scotland, it may be, of his store in
Trinidad, or his plantation in Jamaica, of his difficul-
ties, his successes, and his hopes. A week or two
so spent expands life. The young men and maidens
on board danced and sang every evening, and played
games vigorously all day long, whatever the heat;
cricket every afternoon, and shovel-board at intervals,
the ancient "slide-thrift, otherwise called shove-
grout/' one of the "crafty games" rendered illegal
by an act of Henry VIII. "for the maintaining ar-
tillery."

On the morning of our fourth day of warming air

5



THE BOLIVIAN ANDES

and pleasant breezes I came on deck to find the cliffs
of San Miguel, the largest of the Azores, close at hand.
The island front was swimming in moisture-laden,
sunny air, and girt by the white-maned horses of a
turquoise sea. Boldly profiled cliffs of scarred red
rock or steep tree-dotted slopes support the cultivated
land an undulating area of green and golden squares,
vineyards, and cornfields. Deep wooded chines are cut
into the swelling mass. Higher aloft ridges fringed
with trees ran together into graceful peaks, or lost them-
selves in a soft roof of cloud which floated over the
island. Down by the shore glittered white-walled cot-
tages or farms. A larger splash of brightness away
to the westward revealed the town and church of Villa
Franca. An hour or two later this land of beauty and
romance had melted away into light, through stages
of increasing transparency, and so disappeared, long
before dipping behind the horizon bounds.

Beyond the Azores came weather quite reason-
ably warmed through, a delight to experience after
a background of cold English spring; yet, thank
Heaven! our race was nurtured in east winds and
gray skies, which drive men to keep moving, and make
work essential to happiness. In the tropics work is
a curse; in England and the other arctic regions it
is a joy. On the eleventh day out (noon, lat. 14 45' N.,
long. 57 II 7 E.) we came into a dirty green sea, colored,
I was told, by the mud of South American rivers; we
also entered an area of splendid torrential showers,
good to watch as they swept over the ocean. Next
morning our anchor was punctually dropped at six
o'clock in the harbor of Barbados, an island about as

6



LONDON TO COLON

large as the Isle of Wight. The omnibus steamers
that come from different directions to meet the mail
were anchored around, boats and launches were flying
to and fro, while shrieking negro boys in their tiny
home-made craft congregated about our ship to dive
for coins. I made haste to land, in company with
Mr. F. Cundall, the capable Director of the Jamaica
Institute a kind of offshoot of the English Science
and Art Department. We jumped into a buggy with-
out delay and drove out into the country.

I make no attempt to catalogue what we saw. The
impression made upon me was overpowering and will
last. The town was well enough, and its historical
reminiscences would have sufficed to fill many days
with interest, but these were insignificant behind the
immediate sense of exuberant life, animal and vege-
table. The ways simply abounded in niggers; their
bits of cottages were everywhere ; their babies swarmed
like flies in Egypt. Nature provides a perfect setting
for these white-robed throngs on the white roads flood-
ed with sunshine. It was the flamboyant trees that
completed my wonder, trees like acacias, but with
scarlet flowers instead of green leaves. I suppose
they have leaves, but it is the flowers that you see,
a flush of glory overarching the roads and contrasting
with the blue sky and piled-up towers of white cloud.
There were palms waving beside them, and the white
walls of houses and gardens flooded with Bougain-
villeas in full bloom; and there were hibiscus, and I
know not what more, all bursting with life and tri-
umphing in gay efflorescence. There were orchards
and gardens and sugar plantations covering every

7



THE BOLIVIAN ANDES

yard of cultivable land, for the population is too great
for the land, so that not an inch can be left untilled.
The pressure of population in Barbados, like the cli-
mate in Europe, forces men to labor.

As we drove inland we rose above the sea-level
and obtained wider views. A beautiful garden ap-
peared in a fine position. The house was embow-
ered in the flamboyant trees. I made bold to drive
up to it; it proved to be the residence of the Colo-
nial Secretary, and the master gave us hospitable
entertainment. I tried to take a photograph in natural
colors* of the gorgeous vegetation, but the breeze
would not permit a sufficiently long exposure. We
drank our morning coffee on the terrace under the
shadow of flowers, with a landscape of sugar-fields
stretching away to the beautiful sea. The drive
was continued through intricate lanes, abounding
in niggers, and past barracks and drill-grounds down
to the hotel at Hastings-by-the-Sea, where we lunched
on flying-fish and mangoes, and rejoiced to be alive.
A couple of months later came a great hurricane that
blew flat all the trees and ravaged the gardens that
were now looking so fair; but the same nature that
destroyed will raise again, and ten years hence the de-
struction of yesterday will be unperceived.

The last hours of our stay in Barbados were spent
in the club, among a group of captains and ship-
ping agents, the local personification of that old and
most respectable company, the Royal Mail, which
seems to hold the West Indies in the hollow of its hand.

"Ives's process. The apparatus, which is not expensive, can be
bought in London from the Photochromoscope Syndicate.

8



LONDON TO COLON

The talk was of harbor-masterships vacant, and who
would get them; of the prospects of one man and the
misfortunes of another; of how Jones was getting fat
and Brown was drinking too much; of the parson's
wife, who makes the best guava jelly in the world;
and of a certain dozen bottles of Barbados rum lying
hidden somewhere, that surpassed all other spirits
ever distilled since the foundation of the earth. At
last the company broke up and went aboard the various
steamers already weighing their anchors. An hour
later, when the sun was setting beneath a towering
purple cloud with a great gold wing, three spots of
smoke on the horizon showed where the scattering
ships were gone.

From Barbados to Jacmel, in Hayti, is a run of 815
miles. At an early hour one morning we entered
the beautiful bay, and the cutter was launched to
land the mails. As an exceptional privilege, and
after undertaking to be responsible' for our own safety,
Cundall and I were allowed to land. Few travellers
in recent years have landed at Jacmel. The " Black
Republic/' whose birth was watched with an ill-
founded enthusiasm, and whose history is a tale of
steady decadence, cannot even keep order in the foul
streets of one of its chief ports. Seen from the ship,
Jacmel looks lovely, a specimen of tropical village of
picturesque huts among graceful palms, surrounded
by hills whose densely wooded covering has the velvety
texture, even when beheld from a great distance, that
differentiates tropical from temperate forests. I sup-
pose there exists in the whole round world no island
more blessed with natural beauty than Hayti. Its

9



THE BOLIVIAN ANDES

bays, its beautiful hills rising to 12,000 feet, its in-
comparably fertile soil, its wealth of water, should
combine to make it the very garden of the earth; but
it is a garden inhabited by a people sinking back into
savagery and for whom there will be no salvation till
the white man has shouldered them again as part
of his burden. The day that the United States, having
brought order and prosperity to Cuba and Porto Rico,
adds Hayti and Santo Domingo to its growing empire,
will be the most fortunate that has ever dawned on
those unhappy regions since Columbus discovered the
island of Hispaniola.

Rowing ashore, we landed at a half-ruined jetty,
near which rose an ugly arch of triumph made of
planks in honor of the recent visit of President Heu-
reaux of Santo Domingo (since murdered). It may
have cost $50 to build. I am told that it figured in
the republic's accounts for some $30,000. Near the
landing-place was the town pump, only a foot or two
away from a stinking sewer. There was also a broken
electric light on a post. Beyond a paved street, rather
rougher than an average moraine, were some crazy
public buildings, made of planks nailed to a frame,
and roofed with corrugated iron; many of the planks
were loose and most were rotten. The filth of the
streets was indescribable; the few people about were
as degraded and dirty as any I ever saw. They looked
upon us with e3^es of malignant suspicion. The
houses matched the people. There was no proper road
leading inland, but only a wandering track, which
amply suffices for all the trade that comes to this port.
If there were any energy or uprightness in people or

10




A PEASANTS HUT, JAMAICA




ARCH OF TRIUMPH AT JACMEL



LONDON TO COLON

government, Jacmel ought to be a thriving emporium
of trade. But it is as good as dead. The degradation
of the people is lower than in the days of slavery.*

The sight of Jacmel is one of the most horrible I
ever beheld. If civilization's day is ever done, and
mankind begins to rot away, it will die out like this.
Whoever has seen Jacmel will be cured for life of the
belief that self-government is any panacea for human
ills. Under self-government Hayti has sunk from a
thriving community to a foul blot on the face of the
earth. However well self-government may suit some
few white races, it is poison to blacks, and the man
who takes it away from them will be their greatest
benefactor. Under no system of slavery and despotism
could the individual's state be more miserable than
it is in Jacmel to-day. With joy we found ourselves
again on board ship, which all day long sailed by
the south coast of the island an array of beautiful
hills, fair valleys, and pleasant, undulating lowlands.

Next morning (July 29th) we came early in sight
of Jamaica, and watched the Blue Mountains, dyed
purple and gold in the glory of sunrise. While round-
ing Port Royal and entering the fair bay of King-
ston, w r e talked of Rodney and Nelson. Cundall, with
his wealth of local knowledge, peopled the scene for

* " In Haiti," says Henry Sandham in Harper's Magazine
(August, 1899), " if you see a bridge, go round it ; whenever you see
a sidewalk, take the road. ... I wish it were possible even to refer
to all the evidence of the high state of civilization of this island only
one hundred years ago that we passed in our climb up that mountain ;
aqueducts, bridges, houses, gateways, etc., to say nothing of sections
of broad, well-paved highways, that must have been marvels all
destroyed when Haiti became a republic."

II



THE BOLIVIAN ANDES

me with heroes of the past. Under his hospitable
wing I spent the next two days in uninterrupted en-
joyment. Between Kingston and Jacmel no more
emphatic contrast can be conceived. Nature is the
same in both ; the difference is in man. The Jamaica
negro is the best negro in the New World; such, at
any rate, is the officially recorded experience of the
contractors for the Panama Canal.* Though not
an agreeable person, by all accounts, the Jamaica
negro is a fairly good workman, and has other merits.
I suppose that, like other negroes, he is a problem;
but this book is no place for problems, nor was I travel-
ling in the part of special Providence. Jamaica to
me was a picture, a scene of abounding beauty and
exuberant vegetable wealth. From Barbados to Pana-
ma the luxuriance of vegetation continually increased,
and it was this preparation of the eye that made the
Peruvian desert so appalling a contrast. For this
reason only do I here briefly refer to a country that has

* " Dans ces colonies (les Antilles anglaises) la liberation du negre
ne lui a pas fait oublier sa place naturelle, et s'il avait eu quelque
tendance a en perdre le souvenir, ses maitres de la veille, ses superieurs
d'aujourd'hui, auraient su le lui rappeler. La race s'est conservee
intelligente et forte, et, en quelques annees, de ces cultivateurs de cafe
on (i. e., the canal engineers) a pu faire des mecaniciens et des chauf-
feurs capables de conduire des locomotives ; on a fait me me des ter-
rassiers chargeants aux grands wagons, ce qui represente un effort
de travail considerable dans ces pays chauds. En resume, cette
categoric d'ouvriers a donne des satisfactions relatives ; en tout cas,
c'est la categoric certainement la plus elevee de travailleurs qui soit
venue s' employer au Canal. . . . Les ouvriers blancs, seuls, ap-
portent, dans ce qu'ils font, la conscience du devoir a accomplir et la
vanite de 1'ouvrage bien presente. Le negre, avec son laisser-aller et
son sentiment de maraudeur, n'est pas capable de cette notion/'
P. BUNAU-VARILLA, Panama. Paris, 1892, 8vo, pp. 60, 6l.

12



LONDON TO COLON

been completely described by generations of visitors
and inhabitants.

My whole time was spent on the plain and slopes
between Kingston and the Blue Mountains, in weather
that was fine, though punctuated with thunder-storms.
We saw the hills from the plain, as a purple wall piled
high with white domes of cloud, a background to royal
palms of Cuba and flamboyant trees ; we looked down



Online LibraryWilliam Martin ConwayThe Bolivian Andes; a record of climbing & exploration in the Cordillera Real in the years 1898 and 1900 → online text (page 1 of 27)