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The Mountaineers

Peaks in the San Juan Region, Central Andes. There are many first ascents and new routes to be made in this region. Cordillera de la Brea: This ridge had had only one previous ascent made by Juan Pablo Milana in 1987. At the beginning of 1993, Mario Muñoz, leader, Horacio and Julieta Rimoldi, Juan Martin Miranda and Emilio Muñoz left the hamlet of Colanguil on January 4 and ascended the Valle del Cura. They placed Base Camp on the 7th at the hot springs of El Gollete. The next day, they all made the first ascent of Cerro Lucas (c. 4900 meters, 16,076 feet). On January 9, M. Muñoz and Miranda climbed Cerro La Esperanza (5227 meters, 17,149 feet) and on the 10th, all but E. Muñoz climbed Cerro Pirata and made the second ascent of Cerro La Brea (5170 meters, 16,962 feet. Cordilleras de Agua Negra and Olivares: Martín Mattioli, Santiago Rocha, Miguel Beorchia Nigris, Pablo González and I as leader were carried by truck from Las Flores to the border post, Guardia Vieja. On January 15, we camped in the nearby Quebrada del Milico at 3100 meters. The next day, we climbed the steep, rocky south face of Cerro de la Fortuna (4376 meters, 14,357 feet) and summited by this new route. Mattioli and I then made the fist ascent of Cerro de la Fortuna Oeste (c. 4200 meters, 13,780 feet). On January 18, Mattioli, Rocha and I were driven in a truck to 4100 meters in the Quebrada San Lorenzo. After a hard day, we camped at 4600 meters on a moraine in the nearly unexplored valley. The next day, we set up Base Camp on a moraine near the border with Chile, finding penitentes as high as five meters. On January 20, we headed for the huge massif of unclimbed San Lorenzo (5830 meters, 19,127 feet), which has many summits. We climbed the unstable face until, at 2:30 P.M., Mattioli and I made the first ascent of San Lorenzo Chico (c. 5700 meters, 18,701 feet), from which we could see the Pacific Ocean. We continued along to San Lorenzo Argentino and San Lorenzo Este I (both c. 5700 meters), the latter on the Chilean border. We descended and joined Rocha, who had also climbed San Lorenzo Chico. On January 23, we climbed four more mountains on the Chilean Frontier. Leaving the Paso de Agua Negra, we climbed the south face and west ridge of Cerro del Paso de Agua Negra (c. 5000 meters, 16,404 feet), a different route from the one we climbed in 1992, and continued on to the Portezuelo del Agua Negra. We ascended the southwest face of Cerro Portezuelo de Agua Negra Este (4950 meters, 16,240 feet) and kept on over Cerro Portezuelo de Agua Negra Oeste (same altitude). We discovered an unknown lagoon. While Mattioli and I climbed Cerro Laguna Bonita (also the same altitude), Rocha descended to the lake, where we joined him. During the beginning of February, Mauricio Manzi and I returned to the region to try to climb the highest summit of San Lorenzo, but we were driven back by bad weather. Cordillera de Ansilta: Pico N° 5 or Cerro Andrés Costin (5334 meters, 17,500 feet) had been climbed only once, in 1960. On April 9,1992, Humberto Campodónico and Roberto Pereira left Barreal and crossed the Río de los Patos. On that day and the next, they traversed the Pampa de Ansilta and on the 11th, ascended the Arroyo Fiero to camp in the cirque. On April 12, they moved camp to 4100 meters below the south face. On the 13th, they climbed to the couloir that begins at 4200 meters and finishes on the summit. In the last hour of light, they completed the second ascent of the peak and the first by that route. During the night descent, they had a fall, but it was without serious consequences. In July 1992, Mauricio Manzi and Aníbal Maturano made the second ascent and the first winter ascent of Cerro Francisco de Laprida or Pico N° 6 de Ansilta (5196 meters, 17,047 feet), climbing the east face and northwest ridge. They then made the first winter ascent of the lower north summit of Cerro Domingo Faustino Sarmiento or Pico N° 7 de Ansilta. There was too much ice to continue to the higher south summit (5780 meters, 18,963 feet). The Cordillera de Ansilta lies northeast of Mercedario. Cordillera de la Ramada: Cerro Wanda (5271 meters, 17,293 feet) lies nine kilometers east of Mercedario. Its first ascent was made by Adam Karpinski of the 1934 Polish expedition. Mauricio Manzi made the second ascent and the first by the east ridge. He found a broken cairn and a ancient chocolate wrapper.

Marcelo Scanu, Grupo de Montaña Huamán, Buenos Aires, Argentina