American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Colombia—Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Picos Oriental and Ojeda

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1984

Picos Oriental and Ojeda, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Todd Swain, Thomas (“Tad”) Welch and I visited the northern side of the range in January 1984. Contrary to the experiences reported by several climbing parties in recent years, we found no obstacles to access to these mountains. It appears, moreover, that the Indians’ attitude will remain favorable to climbers, now that they have fixed outrageous prices for mules and muleteers. We found the range lacking in snow, abundant in execrable-looking granite. Tad Welch and I did the first ascent of the north face of Oriental—climbing on tricky snow, but with good rock belays—and on another day the first ascent of the unamed peak immediately to the west of Oriental. Meanwhile Todd Swain, who’d been laid out with a strong dose of la tourista, recovered sufficiently for a tour de force on Ojeda. Over three days he soloed unroped the long rocky northeast ridge, which included several technical moves in the 5.5 to 5.6 range.

John Thackray

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