In January 2004 I spent with two friends 5 weeks in Chile. First we climbed several summits in the Atacama Desert. At the end of our holiday we had still enough time to climb Volcán San José.
I climbed the broad ridge of Cerros de Barrancas Blancas on 23rd January 2004. It was really a nice day. The weather was perfect, almost no wind, agreeable warm and no clouds. Thus we had a spectacular view to the mountains of the Puna de Atacama.
22.01.2004, Cerros de Barrancas Blancas Base Camp
We went to the Hosteria Murray and continued on the old road towards Copiapó. After exactly 1,1 kilometres we turned off to the left and tried to approach off-road as close as possible to the base of the Cerros Barrancas Blancas - mostly pathless, but for all that there were again and again tracks visible.
We could approach the mountain rather close and pitched our camp at 5.000m
23.01.2004, Cerros de Barrancas Blancas, 6119 m
We climbed the ridge directly in front of us. Since we were located at the north side the sun rose here only at ten and after that it became slowly warmer.
At nine we had the first break (5.560m). I had to wait for Markus who could follow only slowly.
Then we went more to the left towards a snowfield and passed below the red-brown rocks. The red-brown rocks we eventually let to our right. Then we passed the snowfield on our left and ascended pathless over loose scree and rocks to the ridge. Now we kept going towards the snowfield, which came down from the grey rocks of the north ridge. On that we could continue easily now.
Also after the first break I had to stop again and again that Markus could follow. Sometimes I asked myself why am I so stupid? I could have walked my own speed. Why endanger myself needless? The bad weather that came up about noon we knew already. Why did I everything that Markus could reach the summit absolutely? I doubted that he would appreciate it.
Then I continued on the snowfield uphill. In the snow it was much easier to climb than in the loose scree. At the upper end of the snowfield it went over fields of gravel easy and not so steep anymore to the summit (11:55, 6.119m).
It was calm and wonderful warm in the sun. What a giant view around, simply fantastic. From the Cerros Peña Blanca and Cerro Laguna Verde in the North across to the dos Conos and Nevado de San Francisco located at the homonymous pass in the East. Then followed Nevado de Incahuasi, Cerro El Fraile, Cerro El Muerto and finally Ojos del Salado. In the Southwest almost within reach the three summits of Nevado Tres Cruces rose.
Why does one climb this mountain so little? All run only to Ojos del Salado.
I saw Markus a quarter of an hour later - he was pretty weary. I went to meet him in order to take his rucksack away. At a quarter past twelve eventually also Markus reached the summit. But there was no thanks or anything else . . .
We descended again at 1pm. We used the same way in the upper part, and then we slid down at the right edge of the snowfield. We quick lost altitude and reached the car after 50 minutes descend.
We packed up quickly and returned to the Ojos del Salado Base Camp in order to pick up Karl.
When we arrived (16:15) Karl waited already for us. (I didn't expect different.) I prepared a big pot of noodle-soup first prior we went to the base camp of Cerro Vicuñas (4.850m).
The entire report and more information as well as pictures you will find at http://members.aol.com/UweKraus6/site35_e.htm
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