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South America, Argentina—Central Andes, New Peaks in the Atuel Valley

New Peaks in the Atuel Valley. My primary goal was to collect local lore in the mountain valleys of southern Mendoza but I did have a chance to enter a district unvisted by climbers near the sources of the Arroyos (creeks) Malo and Blanco and east of El Sosneado (5160 meters), highest in southern Mendoza. Traveling on foot and by truck, I entered the Atuel valley and then the Arroyo Malo to near its source. From a 12,000-foot camp I made the following first ascents: Cerro de los Planchones Amarillos (4350 meters, 14,272 feet) via the north side, highest peak of the Puntos del Arroyo Malo; twin 4300-meter (14,108-foot) peaks at the source of Arroyo Blanco, which I named Cerro del Arroyo Blanco and Cerro Esquinero, both on December 25. I then returned to Mendoza. From a camp near the source of the Navarro River, I attempted Cerro El Puntudito (4275 meters, 14,025 feet), southeast of Las Cuevas, but I did not risk climbing the last three towers of very unstable rock without a belay.

Evelio Echevarria