South America, Chile, Southern Patagonia, Volcán Reclus (1,425m)

Publication Year: 2012.

Volcán Reclus (1,425m). On April 13, 2008, Natalia Martinez (Argentina) and I established base camp at the head of Amalia Fjord, on the west side of the Southern Patagonian Icefield. The camp was nine km west of Volcán Reclus, one of five volcanoes in southern Patagonia (south of Taitao Peninsula). Hidden in the inaccessible and stormy western flanks of the Icefield, Reclus was found to be a volcano only in 1987. In 2005, during a period of very high temperatures, ashes were observed on satellite images, probably emanating from an eruption in the previous 12 months. It was that satellite picture that prompted us to explore the area.

Reclus is a modest mountain, with no technical difficulties. The main challenges are access, being surrounded by glaciers, and chronic bad weather. There is a poorly formed crater, the volcano being a snow-covered ash cone continually eroded by Patagonian weather. Difficult access, via the fjord, probably explains why the peak remained unclimbed. A geological expedition had flown into the area by helicopter, but no members reached the summit.

After two weeks of reconnoitering and waiting for better weather, we got a chance on April 26 and reached the summit on a rainy, misty day. A few days earlier we climbed a secondary cone three-and-a-half km west of the main summit and named it Volcán Mimi.

Camilo Rada, Chile