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South America, Argentina, Central Andes, Various volcanoes, nontechnical ascents

Various volcanoes, nontechnical ascents. Shortly after the New Year Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (U.S.) and partner made the first ascent of Cerro Nevado (5,988m), east of the mighty El Muerto. This volcano has been referred to as El Muerito, but the true name appears on older maps. It lies in Catamarca, on the border with Chile. In the crater they found a bizarre lake that had a strange beet juice color, maybe due to algae.

In the Cordon de los Arrieros, a seldom-visited range on the Chilean border, between Ojos del Salado (6,864m) and Cerro Solo, Argentineans Glauco Muratti and Adrian Petrocelli climbed three of the four summits on the main ridge. In early December they climbed De los Grillos (5,768m IGN) and De las Chullpas (5,898m IGN), both first ascents, and De los Arrieros (5,860m), where they found evidence of the Asociación Tucumana de Andinismo ascents in 1956 and 1957.

In La Jaula Range, close to Mendoza, Pablo Gonzalez and Mijel Lofti (Argentina) climbed a new route on its highest summit, Nevado Excelsior (Mogote Central, 5,733m). Before their ascent the mountain had been climbed only three times: in 1964, via the northeast ridge; in 1979, via the southeast face; and in 1985, by the south face. They spent three days on the approach up the Rio Tupungato, making base camp on November 4. The next day, carrying no ropes, they climbed a spur on the west face, close to the southwest ridge, in six hours. González, had tried the ridge in 2009 and noticed a decrease in ice cover. The angle rose to 45° at the finish, and a little easy rock led almost directly to the summit. They descended the northwest face/ridge, and returned to their tent in two hours.

Marcelo Scanu, Argentina