American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Venezuela, Pico Ruiz, Idos en Guate, and Pico Humboldt, Five Pitches of Good Weather

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2006

Pico Ruiz Teran, Idos en Guate, and Pico Humboldt, Five Pitches of Good Weather. During January 2002 Carlos Pineda and I climbed a direct route up the north face of Pico Ruiz Teran (4,924m). We christened the route Idos en Guate (IV 5.9 Cl AI3). I attempted to climb the face a year earlier with Mario “La Palida” Dos Reis, but we turned back after the first pitch due to very loose rock and bad conditions.

It took Carlos and me two days to do the approach. The first day we took a small bus from the city of Merida to the town of Tabay. From there we took a jeep to the entrance of the Sierra Nevada de Merida National Park in La Mucuy. After registering with the rangers we started the uphill hike up to Laguna La Coromoto (3,100m), where we camped. The next day we hiked up to Laguna Verde (4,100m) where we set up base camp. The day after, we got an early start, approaching the route by the northern side of the base of Torre Condor, until we reached the north slopes of the glacier between Pico Ruiz Teran and Pico Humboldt. We began with 80m on 30-45° snow, which we soloed to the base of the wall. I noticed that the glacier was a meter or so lower than the year before. Carlos started the route, and we switched leads to the top. We encountered enough loose rock that the going was slower than expected. Once on top of Pico Ruiz Teran we realized that the hardest was yet to come. We had to make a delicate traverse to the summit of Pico Humboldt (GPS 4,917m, map 4,968m; the second highest mountain in the Venezuelan Andes) that involved a few raps and more loose rock. Alter reaching the summit of Pico Humboldt we started the descent and reached the comfort of camp after 16 hours. After speaking to some of the locals, we presumed this to be a new route.

In mid-September 2005 Carlos and I climbed the north ridge of Pico Humboldt. Although we do not know if the north ridge had been climbed, we believe this to be the first ascent from this side. We called the route Five Pitches of Good Weather (700', III 5.8 Cl). The route could go free at 5.9 in dry conditions, but we had to use points of aid in places due to dirty cracks and wet rock. We approached by a loose gully, with exposed 4th to low-5th class,between the base of the west face of Torre Condor and La Corona Glacier. This gully put us in the col between Torre Condor and Pico Humboldt, where the route starts (GPS 4,736m N08°33.067' W070°59.833'). After much debating about continuing in uncooperative weather, Carlos had the honors of doing the first pitch. Switching leads, we went through four more pitches, under changeable conditions of fun: sun, rain, hail. Three of the pitches are moderate (5.6-5.9) and two are 4th class, with interspaced sections of 5th class. There is plenty of loose rock. As usual we topped out just before sunset and had a fun descent in the dark (right!).

Maikey Lopera

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