South America, Chile, Torre de Pangal, Rancagua Andes

Publication Year: 1964.

Torre de Pangal, Rancagua Andes. From Base Camp at 9000 feet at the head of the Cajón de Flores in the Andes above Rancagua, my wife Irene and I climbed the 4000-foot face to the southeast of us to reach an untrodden glacier, the Torre de Pangal’s west glacier. A high camp was pitched on the slopes of the Torre. On December 1, 1962, we climbed the west face to the summit ridge, crossed onto the east face and reached a notch between the two summits of the split peak, some 50 feet below the highest point (14,830 feet). Incredibly rotten rock — my wife sustained injury from falling stones — foiled our attempt to climb to the true summit but we did get to the South Point, some 25 feet lower and 150 feet distant. We next turned our attention to the two unclimbed Puntillas de Flores. The next day we climbed Puntilla IV (13,386 feet) via the south glacier, a pleasant ice climb which ended on the shattered rocks of the southeast ridge. On December 3 we climbed Puntilla III (13,977 feet) by its southeast face in poor snow and weather conditions. This is the most imposing of the Puntillas and is a savage wedge-shaped peak which did not yield as easily as its neighbor. After several days at Base. Camp, we turned to the peaks at the head of the Cajón de Flores. Left of the Nevado de Flores was a rock peak we called "Centinela” (13,780 feet) and on the far rim of the west glacier of the Nevado, an ice cone we named "Flor Blanca” (13,944 feet). The problem lay in safely negotiating the lower part of the glacier, which is swept several times a day by large quantities of ice from a hanging glacier which bifurcated from the same source basin. However after observing the path taken by the falls over a day, we ascended on the right of the glacier in relative safety. The summits themselves offered no problems when we climbed them on December 9 Two days later, we made the fifth ascent of the Nevado de Flores (16,109 feet).

Keith Whitelock, Club Andino Rangers of Valparaíso, Chile