Laguna Grande de la Sierra, Traverse
South America, Colombia, Sierra Nevada del Cocuy
Over five days in late November, Anna Pfaff and I traversed the six peaks of the Laguna Grande de la Sierra, on the west side of the Cocuy mountains. Starting from a base camp at the edge of Laguna Grande, eight miles from the last farm on the road called Hacienda La Esperanza, we quickly climbed to the summit of Pre-Concavo (5,100m). After a couple of rappels, we continued along the steep snow ridge to the second summit, Concavo (5,215m). From its summit mushroom we downclimbed, traversed under a small cornice, and then back onto the ridge and up 45° névé to Concavito (5,115m). We then retraced our steps and camped on the glacier below. Next we crossed a crevasse-filled glacier to the fourth summit, Portales (4,920m), which had 200m of 5.7-5.8. We rappelled back to the base and established our second high camp. The fifth summit, El Toti (5,125m), had a long approach over exposed ledges that led to a 50° snowfield and 120m of moderate mixed to the talus summit. We downclimbed and rappelled to the base and made our third high camp. We climbed summit six, Pan de Azucar (5,235m), through a large north-facing headwall leading to the steep glacier below the summit. We combined 800m of 5.8-5.9 rock with a 70° snow ramp below El Pulpito del Diablo. From the base of El Pulpito del Diablo, we crossed the glacier and gained the steep ridge to the overhanging mushroom summit of Pan de Azucar (5,235m). After rappelling to the base of Pan de Azucar, we made our fourth and final high camp. The following day we hiked back to Hacienda La Esperanza.