South America, Argentina, Southern Patagonia, Sierra de Sangra, Cerro Cocoví (2,155m), North Flank

Publication Year: 2012.

Sierra de Sangra, Cerro Cocoví (2,155m), north flank. The Sierra de Sangra includes an icefield of ca 100km2, east of Lago San Martin, in the province of Santa Cruz. Its highest peak, marked on the map as 2,155m, had no name. It was time it was climbed and named, so with Ramiro Calvo, a guide from Bariloche, my friends Roberta Brivio and Alessandro Moro, and Roberta’s guide Giulio Signò, we began our expedition at Estancia Cocoví, across the border from the Chilean village of Villa O’Higgins. The estancia is situated at the northern tip of the northeast branch of the lake, and is the nearest point to the mountain that is reachable with 4WD.

We began our approach on horseback, riding south along the east shore of the lake, then moving east up the Rio Colorado Valley. At the head of this valley, a pass leads over to the Rio Capon. It took two days to reach the head, from where it was no longer possible to continue with horses. On day three Roberta and Giulio climbed a prominent summit northwest of the pass, which they named Pico Sant’Ambroeus (1,950m), after the patron saint of Milan. Meanwhile Alessandro, Ramiro, and I crossed the pass and descended to a base camp at 1,220m, below the north side of our mountain.

Early on December 2, as the sky was turning red, we began our ascent. After crossing a small crevasse on a snow bridge, we moved up the north flank on steep scree until we reached rocks looking like the spires of a Gothic cathedral. A short snow slope led to the northeast ridge, which we followed to the summit, arriving shortly after 8:30 a.m. The day was fine, and we could see Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy to the southwest and San Lorenzo to the north. Our GPS recorded an altitude of 2,175m, and we named the peak Cerro Cocoví, after the first settler in this remote region.

Enrico Bonatti, Italy