American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Chile, Northern Andes or Puna, Tres Cruces, Ojos del Salado and Other Peaks, Atacama Province

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1974

Tres Cruces, Ojos del Salado and other peaks, Atacama Province. A scientific-sporting expedition was organized by Valparaíso mountain clubs in order to climb in the Tres Cruces massif, located on the Chilean-Argentinian border, west of Ojos del Salado. The massif contains many summits, the highest one being the central dome (6620 meters, 21,720 feet) according to Chilean surveyors. The 1937 Polish expedition ascended this summit, as well as the southernmost (6356 meters, or 20,854 feet, according to the Chileans, but 6630 meters, 21,752 feet, according to the Poles)1. The other peaks of the massif were untrodden. The Valparaíso climbers travelled in army jeeps to Laguna Verde (“Green Lake”), where they set up their base camp. The southernmost summit was ascended by G. Muga, expedition leader, and P. Cortés, without finding traces of the Poles, neither on this summit nor the others. Meanwhile, J. Bilbao, K. Claussen and U. Grosse ascended the northern peak, which they estimated as 6300 meters high (20,670 feet), a first ascent. A rock tower in the center of the massif was also ascended by the first two climbers. Base Camp was transferred to the foot of Ojos del Salado (6885 meters, 22,590 feet), Chile’s highest mountain. On the slopes of the peak and up to 17,000 feet, the scientists G. Krischies, O. Zoellner and E. Arriola worked on botany, landforms and mineralogy. Bilbao, Claussen, Grosse and Hernán Gómez ascended Ojos del Salado on February 16. Finally, at the end of February, they made the third ascent of El Ermitaño (6187 meters, 20,300 feet), and the second ones of “Centenario” and “Don Tiburcio” (unofficial names, both 5880 meters, or 19,292 feet.)

Humberto Barrera V., Club Andino de Chile, Santiago

1 The new (1968) Chilean national chart gives 6620 meters for the central peak and 6356 meters, for the southernmost, thus confirming closely the previous surveys. The climbers from Valparaíso produced heights that confirm the figures of the Poles. The northern peak had appeared in all surveys as only 6030 meters high and it is locally known as Cerro Cenizo, a name that the climbers did not mention in their reports. There is also another claim of an ascent to the central summit of Tres Cruces (6620 m.) by the Italian Mario Bertone, who did it in February 1941. But the Chileans stated that no traces of previous expeditions were found on any peak on the Tres Cruces massif.—Evelio Echevarría.

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