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.
Cerro Vicuñas is located similar to Cerros de Barrancas Blancas close to Laguna Verde and rises in the Puna de Atacama close to Nevado de Ojos del Salado. The summit provides a superb view to many 6000m and 5000m mountains of the Puna.
I climbed the cone-like mountain of Cerro Vicuñas on 24th of January 2004. It was really a nice day. The weather was perfect, almost no wind, agreeable warm and no clouds. Thus I had a spectacular view to the mountains of the Puna de Atacama.
24.01.2004, Cerro Vicuñas, 6067 m - Laguna Santa Rosa
We went to the Cerro Vicuñas Base Camp (4.850m) the day before. Therefore we used the road from Laguna Verde to the Base Camp of Nevado de Ojos del Salado and turn off at an altitude of approx. 4800 m to the west.
Yesterday evening Markus still hadn't known whether he wanted to climb Cerro Vicuñas with me or not because of slight headaches he had. We had remained that way that he would decide till tomorrow morning at the latest.
When Markus didn't wake up - he shared the tent with Karl - I considered that he didn't feel like climbing with me. As he told me later, Karl's alarm clock hadn't worked so that Markus had overslept. Markus himself hadn't packed a watch - it's his fault.
I left the camp at 6:45. It was pretty cold in the tent, –4°C, and outside –6°C.
I kept in south to southwest direction and followed a desiccated creek that had produced a small valley at the east side of Cerro Vicuñas. Mostly it went over rough stones but I could gain height well.
Somewhat below of red-grey rocks (those at 5.435m) I reached a less distinctive ridge. Meanwhile the soil conditions had changed, small stones with a sandy underground that conceded again and again, made the ascend more difficult. After the rocks it became flatter and I could climb easier over scree. At 5.820m the southeastern pre-summit was already visible.
Then it went over a field of scree again that was very good passable. After that a few metres over a small snowfield to the last ridge and within a few minutes to the summit (right - 10:55, 6.092m). The view was similar to that from the Cerros de Barrancas Blancas – but with a major difference that the view was considerably better than yesterday.
I descended at 20 to 12am and arrived at the car at 12:35.
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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