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South America, Argentine-Chilean Patagonia, Monte Balmaceda Attempt

Monte Balmaceda Attempt. I accompanied a nine-member expedition of the Federación de Andinismo de Chile to the east-northeastern side of Monte Balmaceda (2050 meters, 6726 feet) in Chilean Patagonia in February. The members were Claudio Gálvez, leader, Carlos Fuentes, Rodrigo Arancibia, Alfredo Mancini, Cecilia Castillo, Dr. Claudio Daza, Victoria Morales, Leonardo González and me. We first tried to reach the base of the east face of Balmaceda by the Serrano Glacier but abandoned the attempt because of falling séracs on the glacier. With logistical support from a Zodiac boat of the cutter 21 de Mayo, we ferried equipment further north to a point near the entrance of Río Serrano into Ultima Esperanza Sound. We made a rough track through the nearly impenetrable selva to an unnamed glacier at 800 meters on the northeast side of the massif. The approach from the northeast to the north was blocked by a secondary ridge of peaks with icefalls and objective dangers which complicate access to the north ridge of the principal peak.

Michael Horan