Ritacuba Blanco, Tierra de Condores
South America, Colombia, Sierra Nevada del Cocuy
In February 2010, on the east face of Ritacuba Blanco (5,350m) in Colombia’s Cordillera del Cocuy, Fernando Gonzalez Rubio (Colombia), Ivan Calderon (Venezuela), Simon Kehrer (Italy), and I (Italy) established Tierra de Condores (800m, 7a+) in seven days of excellent weather, with six bivouacs on the wall. We used bolts at the belays and traditional protection for climbing. The first 14 pitches are very overhanging, on good alpine rock; the last 300m are not so steep but are loose. With melting ice, the top part is dangerous. We rappelled the route and freed the pitches we hadn’t yet freed. The rock is hard sandstone that looks like granite. There are two more routes on this wall, both established more than 10 years ago: one on the extreme right, climbed by Fernando Gonzalez Rubio and friends, and one on the extreme left, a then-mixed route (since melted), soloed by Swiss climber Daniel Anker.
Helmut Gargitter, Italy