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South America, Argentina and Chile, Northern Andes, Argentina, Pissis-Bonete Region, Various Activity

Pissis-Bonete region, various activity. In March, Andrés Fabeiro and I were transported to the slopes of Cerro Pilar (erroneously stated on the official map as Cerro Azul). We erected camp on a barren desert not far from Laguna Brava. My friend had problems acclimatizing, so on

the 21st I tried the mountain, but could only reach a lower summit, at 3 p.m., which I called “Cerro Pilar Pequeño” (ca. 4,820m, S28°23'48.8" W68°50'12.4"). It had no previous ascents. Later, I learned that an archeologist had ascended three peaks around Laguna Brava: Cerro Pilar (5,075m), Cerro Fandango (5,612m), and a secondary summit of Cerro Morado o Tambero (5,230m). He found Inca remains on the top of these, but no modern evidence. The major peaks around the lake have now been ascended.

After our February expedition to the same area, we met a Swede, Janne Corax, and his girlfriend Nadine on bikes. They went to Laguna Brava. Corax ascended, solo, Bonete (6,759m) by its southwest face (first solo of the route and possibly its second ascent). They continued north to the little-visited slopes of Pissis, which, at 6,882m, is the second highest summit in the hemisphere and the highest volcano on earth. They found a lot of snow but managed to reach a summit 2 km south of the higher summit. They named it Pissis II or Pissis East (6,811m, S27°46,137 W68° 46,800) and found no traces of other ascents. This summit can be found on the official map. They then went north and ascended main Pissis and other summits in Catamarca.

Another first ascent in the Pissis region was made by Rafael Solana Plaza on April 10, 2004 (www.andeshandbook.cl). He ascended a virgin peak that he christened “Cerro Peña Vieja del Pissis” (S27°47'16" W68°44'00"). On the new Argentine maps, these coordinates roughly match those of Pk. 6,195m.

Marcelo Scanu, Buenos Aires, Argentina