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South America, Colombia, Central Cordillera, Ruiz-Tolima Group

Ruiz-Tolima Group, Central Cordillera. Paul Monohan, Mickey Nowak, Ollie Wallock, and I on January 3 climbed Nevado de Quindío, (c. 4800 meters, 15,748 feet) from the west, a new route. We reached the ridge crest at a break in the cornice, traversed the three main summits, and descended by a knife-edged ridge below the highest peak. Several parties have visited these peaks in recent years. Date of the first ascent is lost. I climbed with various people the other main summits in the group: Nevado del Tolima (17,109 feet), Nevado del Ruiz (17,454 feet), Nevado de Santa Isabel (16,733 feet). All climbs took place in January, 1977. An active fumarole near the summit of Nevado del Tolima was the scene of the first mountaineering fatalities among Colombian climbers. Hermann González and Alfonso Lazano died in August 1976 while exploring snow caves within the fumarole. Their deaths have been attributed to asphyxiation by volcanic gas.

Pieter Crow, Green Mountain Club