American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Argentina, North Argentine Andes, Volcan El Peinado, and Other Ascents

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1997

Volcan El Peinado, and Other Ascents. Our group consisted of Maria Constanza Ceruti, Gustaro Gomez, Hernan Ponce, Nestor Perez and I, all from Buenos Aires. We wanted to attempt the beautiful Volcan El Peinado (5741 m) (the Combed One), a remote volcano in the high desert zone called Puna. This mountain was first ascended by Incas and then by Austrian Mathias Rebitsch and Argentine Sergio Domicelj, who made the first modem ascent (1965).

We arrived at Fiambala on January 8. On January 12, Ceruti, Perez and I climbed Cerro de las Espinillas (4459 m) by a new route from the southwest, slightly different to the one I made last year. Gomez and Ponce left after filming the zone and supporting us. On January 14, we left very early (7:30 a.m.) for Cerro Bertrand (5207 m), which is a volcano. I made the second modem ascent in January, 1995, where I found the documents of the 1965 Bolider’s Expedition. We made a route slightly to the south of the 1965 route. Near the summit I found a circular altar with wood (entire and burnt). Certainly offerings were burnt here by the Incas. At 4:15 p.m. we were on summit (26°50’03”S; 68°09’47”W; Campo Inchauspe Coordinates, measured with a Garmin GPS 40). Perez, who had lagged behind with a cramp, summitted. We descended by a new way (south face), reaching Las Grutas at 10 p.m. A dog accompanied us on the ascent.

On January 17 a unimog of the Secretaria de Mineria de la Nacion took us to their camp at 4355 meters on the base of the conical Peinado. The same day we scouted the route which goes up a lava flow . We couldn’t go straight, so many zig-zags were made. On the 18th we ascended and pitched a camp at ca. 4900 meters, on the slopes of a subsidiary volcano of 5180 meters. The next day, January 19, we left at 8:45 a.m. We ascended the unstable rocks of the south face; our passage produced many rock slides. Finally I reached the highest point of the crater (5741 m; approx. 26°37’30”S, 68°07’W) at 5 p.m. Minutes after, Ceruti also reached the top, and then Perez sum- mited and filmed. This was the second modem ascent and first by the southern route. The descent was difficult because of the unstable terrain. We found our tent in the dark at 11 p.m. The next day we descended to Base Camp. On February 21 we left with Ceruti toward a summit of 5007 meters near the lakes. We ascended it by its southeast face, making its first ascent and naming it Cerro de la Laguna Amarga. On the 23rd we returned, passing near a zone with volcanic activity.

It’s said by the nearby settlers that Peinado is an unclimbable summit that is guarded by a bull with golden horns. Many of them didn’t believe we had reached its top.

Marcelo Scanu, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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