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South America, Colombia, Cordillera Oriental, Nevado del Güican (or Cocuy)

Nevado del Güican (or Cocuy), Cordillera Oriental. Greg Beliveau and I made two ascents from the Concavito valley. On February 25 we made the first ascent of Gorro Blanco (16,558 feet) and on the 27th, Nevado del Chiflón (16,568 feet) by a new route. On the latter summit we found a note by Evelio Echevarría from his first ascent in December 1976 (A.A.J., 1977, p. 208). Two previously unreported ascents on Rita- cuba Negro (17,681 feet) deserve mention. Steve Singer and Harald Nestroy made the second ascent of the corniced west ridge in the summer of 1973. In early 1974, Singer and Bill Renison made the first ascent of the north face. “The lower part of the climb was subject to considerable icefall. The upper was soft ice and unconsolidated snow, overhanging in spots. The climb had been tried by Peter Jennings and Ian Harverson a few months earlier, but they died in the attempt.” (see A.A.J., 1974, p. 123). Their bodies were never found. Members of the Bogotá-based Club Campo Abierto have been especially active in the range for several years. Some of their climbs include: 1.) Second ascent of Puntiagudo (5019 meters? 16,467 feet), May, by H. Frank, S. Gaviria, F. López. A woman companion, Viktoria Stumbaum, reached within 8 meters of the summit before stopping on account of the steep slope. Puntiagudo is located about two miles south of Alto Ritacuba. 2.) Second ascent of Companilla Grand or Campanario (4986 meters, 16,359 feet) in the southern end of the range, July, by S. Gaviria, Richard López, and Ernesto Murillo, after an attempt in June failed 80 meters below the summit. 3.) Sixth ascent of Púlpito del Diablo (5000 meters, 16,404 feet) December 1976, Gaviria, Maldonado. 4.) Club members have also made ascents in the little-known eastern chain of the Nevado de Güican, the first climbs there since the late 1950’s. Their visits resulted in the second

ascent of Picos Sin Nombre (ca. 5000 m.), also called Picos Nordeste, and the fourth ascent of Cerros de la Plaza (16,263 feet). S. Gaviria was on each climb. Date and names of other climbers unknown. In January, 1978 Hubert Frank and Sergio Gaviria made the fourth ascent of Pico del Castillo (16,808 feet). The last ascent of this mountain, perhaps the finest in the range, took place in 1946. The recent route was from the south. The official name of this range is as difficult to pin down as are many of the peak names. Both Sierra Nevada de Cocuy and Sierra Nevada de Güican are used on maps issued by the Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi, the geographical authority for Colombia.

Pieter Crow, Green Mountain Club