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South America, Chile, Northern Andes, Cerro Zorrita, Sierra Almeida

Cerro Zorrita, Sierra Almeida. On March 2, Edward T. Hobaugh and I departed Antofagasta with Chilean Gaston Oyarzun providing logistics and transportation. We established a base camp near the Llullaillaco massif in Quebrada de las Zorritas at an estimated 13,500 feet on March 3 under perfect weather conditions. On March 4 and 5, Hobaugh and I dodged threatening weather, including severe lightning, and ascended two remote points some distance from our base camp in order to acclimate. On the 6th we made an alpine start and ascended the quebrada to the east and climbed Cerro Zorrita (17,780’). The route of ascent was from the south col, thence the east ridge. The summit held a roughly constructed stone windbreak. On the descent we climbed over the 16,800 foot point separating Cerro Zorrita and Cerro Inca. On the summit we found a maze of beautifully wind-sculpted rocks. Plans to attempt Llullaillaco were thwarted by continued severe weather. Research conducted at the Club library upon arriving home, and by Dr. Evelio Echevarría, failed to reveal a modem ascent of Cerro Zorrita.

John Edward Longnecker