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South America, Argentina, Mercedario, East Face, 1975

Mercedario, East Face, 1978. On December 19, 1978 we established Base Camp at 15,100 feet in the Río Blanco valley. On December 25 Theo Dowbenka, Sebastian Hohenreiter, Rudolf Friedhuber, Dr. Joachim Kayser and I climbed unroped to “El Caballito,” a prominent rock formation in the east wall of Mercedario at about 19,000 feet. We bivouacked at 19,700 feet. The 5000-foot route reaches the southwest ridge at 21,000 feet.* Because three of us were suffering from the altitude, we descended the normal route from 21,200 feet, without going to the summit.

Herbert Ziegenhardt, Bayerische Naturfreunde, Germany

* This route was first climbed by Italians from Padua in 1975 and later by Argentines from Bariloche.—Editor.