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South America, Chile, Pili and Aguas Calientes

Pili and Aguas Calientes. Sergio Kunstmann and Pedro Rosende, of the Santiago section of the Club Andino de Chile, carried out two expeditions to 19,830-foot-high Pili, the fine conical volcano which the Incas also knew as Acaramachi, the “rock snail”. They ascended this peak, located east of Antofagasta and near the Argentinian border, in late October 1971, and found, as expected and hoped for, an Inca sanctuary on the top.1 After a quick survey of their finding, the climbers descended, and before returning to Santiago, they also ascended Aguas Calientes (19,480 feet), perhaps a first ascent. Once in Santiago, Kunstmann organized a large party, with seven climbers, three porters and two muleteers, which ascended Pili again on November 26 and placed camps on the top. After several days of digging, the group accumulated a booty of gold and silver statuettes, textiles, feathers, ornaments and firewood and locks of human hair. All this material has been stored at the small museum that the climbing priest Gustavo Le Paige directs in San Pedro de Atacama. Miñiques. Police captain Pedro Rosende returned to the Pili area and with Albino Plaza on October 4, 1972 ascended the volcano Miñiques (19,390 feet), south of Pili. The party located a rock platform of Inca construction, some 12 × 15 feet and bundles of firewood semi-buried.

Evelio EchevarrÍa

1The Chileans stated in their report (Revista Andina 92, pp. 8-10) that no traces of previous climbing expeditions had been found on the top. But correspondence with Count Aldo Bonacossa revealed that the Italian 1939 expedition that had been there stayed on the top only three minutes, on account of the cold and the fresh snow.—Evelio Echevarría.