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South America, Argentina, Pico Polaco, Attempt, and South Face of Mercedario

Pico Polaco, Attempt, and South Face of Mercedario. The Club Andino Mercedario of San Juan is one of the oldest and most active of the Argentine Mountain Clubs. This year they commemorated their 50th anniversary. A group of the club went to the Valle del Colorado to attempt some peaks. In January, Natasha Benavente, Federica Sacchi, Jose Antonio Aciar, Juan Pablo Milana, Luis Ban Chig, and Humberto Campodonico arrived in Base Camp. Milana, Banchig and Campodonico departed for the ridge that joins Pico Polaco and Mercedario. Two days later they arrived and attempted the route. First they tried some ice couloirs but found it impossible to climb any of them. Sacchi joined then to attempt the ridge, the only way on the face. On January 27, on the highest glacier, an avalanche hit Sacchi, who was injured and helped down. On the last days of January the whole group (including Sacchi) reached the summit of Mercedario by the south face (50°, with ice passages of 70°). It must be said that Mercedario is very similar to Aconcagua but less visited. The south face was attempted by various Argentine parties this year and also some International Groups.

Marcelo Scanu, Buenos Aires, Argentina