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South America, Argentina, Alma Negra and Cerro Negro, Second Ascents, Cordón de la Ramada

Alma Negra and Cerro Negro, Second Ascents, Cordón de la Ramada. Hermann Joos, Héctor de la Vega, Juan Carlos Damonte Taboda, Daniel Burlon, Irene Rost, Helga Brimmer and I on February 12 left the junction of the Colorado and Patos rivers, which is as far as a truck can go. We ascended for some 30 miles the beautiful Colorado valley to Base Camp at 14,500 feet. We established Camp I at 17,000 feet up the valley. We explored to find a route onto the glacier that would lead us onto the eastern side of Alma Negra (20,637 feet; first ascent on February 6, 1934 by the Poles J. Dorawski and W. Ostrowski). We could not avoid a 100-yard gully threatened by falling ice and rocks from the hanging glacier above. We put Camp II at 18,500 feet. One team left for the summit but was forced back by a storm. Joos and I left the next day, February 25, determined to climb to the summit even if the storm continued. Night found us on the final ridge at 19,700 feet, huddled by a tiny rock, on the windy side because on the other it was a sheer drop. We had a good night thanks to excellent bivouac equipment. Being there in the fury of nature and completely absorbed into it, feeling so small and yet so strong, I experienced a deeper understanding of life, the universe and God. Luckily, the 26th was clear and we reached the top in six and a half hours. It was a thrill to find a little can containing the cards of Victor Ostrowski and Jan Kazimierz Dorawski. A storm with lightning caught us on the way down. On March 3 de la Vega, Damonte and I climbed Cerro Negro de Damada (18,209 feet; first ascent in January, 1934 by Dorawsi, A. Kapinski and Ostrowski) via its east glacier. This peak lies next to Mercedario and gave us a good chance to study the formidable south face.

Peter Bruchhausen, Centro Andino Buenos Aires