The South America 3 Peaks Expedition took place in Dec 2013/Jan 2014. Carolina Morales, David Kenealy and I spent 35 days in the Puna de Atacama and High Andes of northern Argentina and attempted to climb Monte Pissis (6,795m), Ojos del Salado (6,893m) & Aconcagua (6,959m).
The expedition had 3 objectives:
1. Mountain – To safely climb the 3 highest peaks in South America (6,700m+), including the first Venezuelan female ascent of all 3 peaks
2. Science – In partnership with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation we supported ongoing scientific research on South America’s receding glaciers by collecting rock samples for analysis by world-class researchers in the US
3. Community – To raise a substantial sum of money for Macmillan Cancer Support to support cancer victims in the UK, and to inspire people to follow their own dreams
The expedition was also the third leg of my long-term project to climb the Triple 7 Summits; the 3 highest peaks on each continent.
The first phase of the expedition was a 9-day acclimatization phase, where we would attempt to climb 4 peaks over 4,000m.
Pastos Largos – 4,000m
After flying to La Rioja, Caro and I travelled on road by pickup to Fiambala, a small mountain town that served as our base for the expedition. Unfortunately, Dave’s bags had been missing since he arrived in Buenos Aires, so he stayed in La Rioja for the next four days to wait for them. Meanwhile, our four-hour road journey was interrupted by a roadblock about 100km from Fiambala. Locals were protesting against the Government, which delayed us for two hours before we negotiated our passage.
Next morning, we bought supplies for the next nine days, then drove 100km further towards the border with Chile to an area known as Pastos Largos, the site of an old hunting refuge at 3,500m. The next day, we climbed a nearby peak. After crossing the Cazadero River, it was a straightforward high-altitude trek at a slow and steady pace for four hours to ascend from the refuge to the summit at 4,000m. During the ascent we had fantastic views of Incahuasi, a 6,600m+ peak that dominated the horizon at the end of the valley.
On a very clear and hot day our first summit marked a successful start to the expedition.
At 4,000m, from the summit of Pastos Largos, we also had distant views of both Monte Pissis and Ojos del Salado, which we would attempt later in the expedition
Summit video – English Version
Summit video – Spanish Version
You can hear my thoughts on the expedition so far on this ipadio phonecast, which I posted after descending back to the refuge.
You can read the story of the whole expedition in the official Expedition Report below, which is also available for download: