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South America, Argentina and Chile, Northern Andes, Chile, Sierra Nevada de las Lagunas Bravas, Exploration and Various Ascents

Sierra Nevada de las Lagunas Bravas, exploration and various ascents. During the four campaigns that we undertook in 1998,2000,2002, and 2005, several members of our Iberia Mountain Group visited the Sierra Nevada de las Lagunas Bravas, located northeast of the town of Copiapó. To access the area, we drove through the valley of the Juncalito thermal springs, or Río Negro, and up a road (in bad condition on our fourth trip) that left us near the Laguna del Bayo (lake). In those four campaigns we ascended numerous peaks, most of them first ascents. North of the Laguna del Bayo, our main ascents were of Cerro Tridente (5,417m), Vértice Zurich” (4,852m, second ascent), and two unnamed heights we christened “Cerro Cobrizo” (4,718m) and “Cerro Entre Dos Aguas” (5,015m). South of the area in which Lakes Jilguero and Bayo lie, we also reached a number of untrodden summits: Cerro Plomizo (5,392m), as well as several heights situated west of the Sierra Nevada (Cerros 5,273m, 5,355m, 5,519m, 5,530m, 5,497m, and 5,529m) and the peaks of the main massif of the Sierra Nevada itself (5,928m, 6,013m, and 6,127m). The first two were first ascents and the highest one a second, as without our knowing it, an American group had been active in the district and had made the first ascent.

In the Cordón de la Azufrera we also reached several mountain tops. This massif had felt the impact of human visitors previously, since we found traces of mining activity at a high altitude, even on the summit of the main peak (Cerro Azufrera de los Cuyanos, 5,921m). Southeast of this imposing chain we made two more ascents: of Cerro 5,732m, which we deemed a first, and of Cerro 5,710m, which members of the Club Alemán Andino of Santiago, Chile ascended in 1976. From the thermal baths area, to acclimatize, we climbed Cerro Juncalito Oeste (5,266m), on whose summit we found no traces of human occupancy. Participating in these campaigns were Rodrigo Bernardo, Carlos Bravo, Maribel Fernández, Luis Bernardo, Francisco Gómez, Fernando Laguna, Carlos Gómez, Alfonso de la Iglesia, Pedro Gómez, Jorge Pérez, Eduardo Ruiz, Alfonso de la Iglesia, and José Martinez. And always in our thoughts was Evelio Echevarría, who had indicated to us the climbing possibilities of these fantastic places.

José Martínez Hernández, Madrid, Spain