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South America, Argentina, Northern Andes and Puna

Northern Andes or Puna. An expedition of eight members of the Club Andino Mercedario (San Juan, Argentina) set out to explore some peaks situated astride the Chilean-Argentinian border, with the hope of finding Indian remains on their summits. The main objective was Nevado Tambillos (5800 meters or 19,029 feet), whose base was reached with the aid of mules; Base Camp on the east side of the mountain was set up on December 3, 1969, at 15,000 feet. An ascent of the nearby Cerro Imán (5070 meters, 16,623 feet) was made on November 30 (A. Beorchia, the expedition leader, and C. Fava, F. Baruzzi and R. Accoroni), finding on top a rock-walled enclosure some 15 by 19 feet. The next mountain, Nevado Tambillos, was ascended on December 6 (Beorchia, Fava, Baruzzi and Héctor de la Fuente), locating many traces of Indian occupancy, such as textiles, ceramics, rock altars, feathers and clothing. An excavation on the top seemed to indicate that probably a mummy had been unburied by grave-diggers, coming perhaps from the Chilean side of the mountain. With one climber suffering from mountain sickness, the summit party retreated, giving up a detailed survey of the findings. The expedition arrived back at San Juan on December 30. (From Revista del Club Andino Mercedario #5, 1970).