The North Face or Vinci Route of Pico Bolivar is the most difficult of the three principle routes to the highest summit of Venezuela. Each year becomes more difficult, technical and dangerous because of the melting of the glaciar and rock falling. The best season to climb it is in Winter (July- September) and the end of winter (October- December) where there is more snow, better glacier conditions and less rock falling.
To get there you can arrive by plane, bus or car to the city of Merida. Then you take the cable car located at Plaza Las Heroinas up till the last station (Highest of the world: 4765 m.) called Pico Espejo. From here you go to Nid de Aguila which is normally Base Camp.
From the Pico Espejo cable car station, just out of the door of the station you go down towrds the electricity post climbing to the other side of the fence. This is the north side face of Pico Espejo towrds the city of Merida. If it´s not cloudy you can see Nido de Aguila spur, that is towards where you have to walk down and your Base Camp. From Pico Espejo to Nido de Aguila it may take from 1 to 2 hours. It's a scrambling down not too steep with only a kind of difficult pass just at the beginning ( whre there is a steel cable and a second one in the middle of the route.
After you get to Nido de Aguila, where there is a small pond, you climb up a scree that has snow in winter, towards the east just beside a big wall. You can also go down towrds the Nido de Aguilla Col and then up again to join the route.
From Nido de Aguila to the base of the North Face Glacier is an easy walk with some ups and downs aprox. of 30 minutes (but each year the glaciar is further away).
From the glaciar, that is a huge letter "C" shape now, you climb it towars the upper right end, stay at the right part of it.
You exit the glaciar to the right towards the "Ventana" (Col) of the Normal route that it can be easily distiguished. Here starts the most difficult part of the climb that is a rock climb with some mixed sections, specially in winter. Its a zig zag aiming a spur to the right in order to get to the col and join the last pitch of the normal route.
There is a variation of the final part of the route called "El Pote" which is a technical 5.10 more direct rock climb to the summit. See picture in green. [img:224149:alignleft:small:]
Essential GearCrampons, 2 Technical Ice Axe (Piolets Tecnicos), ice screws, snow stakes, rope and rock climbing equipment.
External LinksMerida Webcam wher you can see Nido de Aguila and Pico Bolivar Summit: