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South America, Chile, Alto de los Leones, Southwest Pillar

Alto de los Leones, Southwest Pillar. Chileans Gino Casassa, Alejandro Izquierdo and Englishman Jim Lindsay made on January 17 the first ascent of the southwest pillar of this peak, one of the finest in Chile, belonging to the Juncal group, some 40 miles northeast of Santiago. After reaching the base of the peak at about 14,700 feet, the climbers went up a frozen couloir and scaled to the base of the pillar. The pillar itself was 1000 feet high (VS, with many pitches HVS and one Al). The rock was not as bad as feared. They fixed ropes and bivouacked at the top of the pillar. They then traversed to the west face and climbed steep but short terraced walls. The rock wall was the most difficult part of the entire climb (130 feet of HVS, A3; very bad rock). The summit is 5445 meters (17,863 feet) high.

Manuel Bazan, Club Andino de Chile, Santiago