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South America, Venezuela, Pico Bolívar, West-Northwest Rib, Sierra Nevada de Mérida, 1985

Pico Bolívar, West-Northwest Rib, Sierra Nevada de Mérida, 1985. In a 13-day round trip from Britain, Jan Solvov and I were able to make the first complete ascent of the west-northwest rib of Pico Bolívar (5007 meters, 16,427 feet), the country’s highest peak. The rock was disappointingly poor except for the summit ridge. However, the snow and ice, together with the weather, proved excellent. We bivouacked twice and reached the summit on December 29, 1985. We descended the Ruta Weiss on the south face. On New Year’s Day I followed the main Toro-León crest, a seven-kilometer classic ridge traverse with continuously exposed scrambling and some more difficult pitches on excellent granite.

Lindsay Griffin, Alpine Climbing Group