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South America, Colombia, Sierra Nevada de Cocuy, Various Ascents

Sierra Nevada de Cocuy, Various Ascents. Our Venezuelan group was composed of Yuraima Bekker, Eduardo Márquez, Ramón and Ricardo Jáuregui, Ramiro Silva and I, leader. We first traveled to the eastern side of this range and camped under the Cerros de la Plaza (4957 m), whose broken north ridge is called Torres Negras (Black Towers). We all ascended the highest of them, on very unstable rock, making a first ascent on December 22, 1995. Under a snow storm we re-traversed the range to the western side. Several of the group ascended Nevado Alto Ritacuba (a.k.a. Ritacuba Blanco, 5464 m) by its normal route. We then moved south to tackle a new route on Nevado Banco Ancho (also called San Paulín, 5271 m). Over very hard ice and under high winds we reached the summit via the west glacier, a new route, on January 6, 1996. Márquez, Silva and I participated on this climb.

José Betancourt, Centro de Montañismo