American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Chilean and Argentine Patagonia, Cordillera Castillo and Northern Patagonian Icecap

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

Cordillera Castillo and Northern Patagonian Icecap. We five New Zealanders climbed in Chilean Patagonia: Dave Bamford, Paul Milsom, Geoff Spearpoint, Ian Thorn and I. We were in the Cordillera Castillo to the north of Lago General Carrera in December 1972 and March 1973 and in the ranges bordering the Northern Icecap on the east in January and February. The only climb completed in the Cordillera Castillo was the peak adjacent to and slightly lower than the true Cerro Castillo but labeled on the Chilean Carta Preliminar as Cerro Castillo 2675 m., which Bamford, Spearpoint and I traversed from Estero del Bosque to Río Turbio. In March an attempt on Cerro Castillo (marked as Cerro Palo on maps) was made from Río Palo. Bamford and I turned back high on the southwest side of the summit towers on rock plastered with new snow. We approached the Northern Icecap by way of the Río Saler’s north branch. We had the misfortune to be stuck at about 10,000 feet on Cerro Hyades for seven nights in a storm without food or bivouac gear. We later travelled extensively in the glacial region bordered by the Río Saler, the Icecap, Río León and Lago Bertrand. Ascents made were Hyades (10,171 feet), 2nd ascent by a new route, the south ridge on January 15 by me, Aguda (c. 9200 feet), 2nd ascent on January 29 by Bamford and me, P 2545 (8350 feet) on February 6 by Bamford, Thorn and me and P 2000 (6562 feet; dominating Lago Plomo) on February 13 by Bamford and me. The last two were rock spires.

Thomas S. Clarkson, New Zealand Alpine Club

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