American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Chile, Ojos del Salado, El Muerto, Mulas Muertas and Other Peaks

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

Ojos del Salado, El Muerto, Mulas Muertas and Other Peaks, Puna de Atacama. We were Theo Dowbenka, Rudolf Friedenhuber, Austrians, Eduardo Saavedra Larraín, Chilean, Sebastian Hohenreiter, Heinrich Händel, Dr. Franz Vachenauer and I, Germans. After a two-day trip by pick-up truck from Copiapó, we established Base Camp at Barrancas Blancas at 15,100 feet about 14 miles northwest of the Ojos del Salado. We were in the region for 13 days. Camp I was at 16,400 feet about halfway to the Ojos del Salado. On January 21 Händel made the traverse of Cerro Mulas Muertas (19,292 feet) from southwest to northeast. From camp at 19,700 feet Dowbenka and I climbed the Ojos del Salado* (22,590 feet) on January 21 in eight hours over not difficult rock blocks, snow and small volcanic stones by the curving northeast ridge. On January 22 Hohenreiter, Friedenhuber and Saavedra climbed the same peak by its north face over rocky terrain, snow and a rock band. On January 23 Dowbenka and Saavedra climbed peaks of 6060 and 6100 meters (19,882 and 20,013 feet) in the Sierra Negra group some three miles west of Camp I. Hohenreiter climbed the higher mountain the next day. On January 25 Hohenreiter, Dowbenka, Saavedra and I climbed El Muerto (21,227 feet) up its west slope in nine hours over sand, rubble, blocks and snow.

Herbert Ziegenhardt, Bayerische Naturfreunde, Germany

* Active fumeroles not far below the summit make the Ojos del Salado the highest active volcano in the world. Cotopaxi, in Ecuador, is often given as the highest, probably because it has a distinct crater, but the volcanic action on the Ojos de Salado is much higher.—Editor.

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