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South America, Ecuador, El Obispo, 1986

El Obispo, 1986. The first Venezuelan expedition to the Altar group was led by Luis Troconis. We shouldered supplies to the traditional Base Camp south of El Obispo. On December 25, 1986, we placed two tents at 4900 meters and the following morning we set out in two teams for the summit (5319 meters, 17,450 feet). C. Pernalete and N. Rojas made a new variant up the southwest ridge, while Troconis, Dora Ocanto and I made the second ascent of the Calvario variant on the normal route. An Ecuadorian team led by M. Purúncajas climbed our route right behind us. We did not reach our tents until six A.M. the next morning while the Ecuadorians bivouacked on the wall. On December 27, Rojas and I climbed Monja Grande (5160 meters, 16,929 feet) by its exceedingly steep canal de hielo (ice gully), on the south face. Before leaving Ecuador, Ocanto, Rojas and Troconis climbed Chimborazo by its normal route.

José Betancourt, Club Universitario de Andinismo y Excusionismo, Mérida, Venezuela