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Normal Route - North

 
Normal Route - North

Page Type: Route

Location: La Rioja/Catamarca, Argentina, South America

Lat/Lon: 27.755°S / 68.7992°W

Object Title: Normal Route - North

Route Type: Mountaineering

Time Required: Expedition

Rock Difficulty: Class 3

Difficulty: High altitude walk/scramble, some easy ice

Route Quality: 
 - 4 Votes
 

 

Page By: Corax

Created/Edited: Apr 12, 2005 / Sep 13, 2006

Object ID: 164620

Hits: 3598 

Page Score: 72.08%  - 2 Votes 

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Approach

Most people are driven to Pissis East BC. From there it´s a 3-5h walk on rocky ground in dry river valleys. When you have left BC, you have a choice of two valleys and it doesn´t really matter which of those two you choose as the difficulty and length is very similar. The one to the right may be preferable as there are some old tent platforms with wind protection along the way and it´s also marginally more direct.
It is preferable to cross the Pissis glacier low on the mountain, as there are some smaller crevasses and during warm days the snow can be very soft and wading through waist deep snow is never fun.
Climbers tend to set up an ABC at either 5300m ( a long way to the summit!) or on a flattish section at roughly 5600m.

Route Description

There are some alternative variations of the normal route, but here is the most common. Head straight up the scree along the path of least resistence. On some sections it´s an easy walk on quite low gradient (30 degr.) and on others it can be a quite annoying experience sliding down on loose scree. The maximum steepness on this section is probably about 45 degr. If there´s enough snow and you like to walk on crampons, you can walk up in the between the glacier proper and the scree field on snow. At 6250m you´ll arrive at flat section with large boulders. Some of these offers excellent protection if you want to have another camp on the mountain. There are even some old platforms here. On your left you see a smaller peak and on your right a faint path leading to a low ridge. Depending on how much snow there is, you either walk on the rocks on the ridge until you reach a high point and can walk down a couple of meters to a plain. If there´s no snow, you walk straight towards the peak instead of this five minute detour on the ridge.
Cross the plain and walk towards the flattest section in between the two high points on the main summit formation. Some sections are a bit tricky as even the big rocks can be loose. When on top of the ridge, walk towards a semi-permanent snow field that will take you to the summit plateau. This section can be a bit scary for trekkers as it´s quite steep and airy. You have now reached the summit plateau and the main summit is slightly to your right. It´s not well marked, but when closer you´ll see some cloth, a little flag, some aluminum sticks around a low cairn.

Essential Gear

Ski poles and/or a long ice axe is of great help. The peak can be done without crampons, but I consider it a very risky business. As on all peaks of this altitude, good clothing is very important. The area is infamous for its windy and dry conditions and top notch boots, gloves and glasses/goggles are necesseties. You may even consider bringing a good quality balaclava.

Images

Taking off the crampons after...