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South America, Chile—Central Andes, Yeguas Heladas and Nevado Juncal, 1991

Yeguas Heladas and Nevado Juncal, 1991. I joined Frenchmen Patrick Gabarrou, François Marsigny, Fred Vimal and Italian Giorgio Passino in November 1991 and together we traveled up the valley to the usual Juncal Base Camp at the foot of the glacier north of Juncal at 2800 meters. Above us rose the unclimbed northeast face of Yeguas Heladas to its 4790-meter (15,715-foot) summit. (First ascent of the peak in 1942 by Chileans Edgar Kremer and Herbert Wünsche.) We decided on this as our first objective. After several mixed and ice pitches, a narrow 60° to 80° couloir divided the face in the center and took us halfway up the wall. Then we turned left on a steep snow ramp. From there to the top was mixed terrain. Next, we climbed the north face of Nevado Juncal, which is technically not difficult. On the first day, we climbed steep couloirs to bivouac at 4500 meters. Despite poor weather the next day, we continued on to bivouac at 5700 meters and reached the summit (6110 meters, 20,046 feet) the following day. We bivouacked again that night at 5700 meters on the descent. After this, all but I moved on to Patagonia. In early December, I returned to climb Juncal by the same route with Chilean Andrés Zegers, with the idea of ascending from Base Camp to the summit and back in one day. We left camp at one A.M. on December 5, 1991. I was standing on the summit 11½ hours later. Andrés had reached 5835 meters. We started the descent together and got to Base Camp at five P.M.

Rodrigo Mujica, Chile and American Mountain Guides Association