American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Bolivia, Cordillera Quimza Cruz, Sajama, Scientific Expedition

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998

Sajama, Scientific Expedition. A scientific expedition to Sajama (6542m) saw a team of scientists drill two 120-meter by four-inch core samples in the summit to check out weather patterns during the last 30,000 years. The initial idea was to float the samples off by hot air balloon. [Anyone who has been to the mountain or read up on it knows that it suffers from relentless and strong winds; during the second (undisputed) successful ascent of Sajama in 1946, T. Polhemus (U.S.) got separated from his three companions on the summit plateau in high winds, which whipped up fresh snow and reduced visibility to 45 meters. He was never seen again, and aerial and land searches failed to find any trace of him.] The balloon, apparently in the shape of a giant penguin, never took off and so the samples, in 28-kilo loads, were carried off by porters, one of whom registered 27 summit ascents in under six weeks.

Yossi Brain, United Kingdom

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