Climbing Cerro Plomo (5430m)
As a giant bulk of rock and ice Cerro Plomo emerges on the eastern horizon
seen from the city of Santiago. It is the highest and most
prominent peak visible from
town and attracts everys climbers eye. The easy accessibilty makes this
mountain a popular goal for climbers. The normal route is not at all
difficult, probably the only problem is the huge altitude
difference of 5000 vertical meters to Santiago.
In April 1998, together with Pierre Leisy, I tried Plomo the first time
but we had to turn back before the summit because it was too late
in the day. In Februar 1999 I went back to the mountain, this time
accompained by Benoit Joguet, to get all the way up:
(Click on the thumbnails to get the large images.)
On our first day: coming from the La Parva ski resort and
approaching the valley which we followed to the base of
mountain. Cerro Plomo is visible at the end of it and the
normal route follows the dark rocky ridge which starts right above my
backpack and leads up the mountain in a nice curve to the right. We
established two camps, one at a very nice camp site in this valley
and the next one at the glacier basin.
On the third day we started at around 3.45 am and were climbing for about
one hour when we arrived at the old broken refugio, from where I
continued alone. Afterwards the path
lead up a pretty steep scree slope. In a spectacular view Santiago was
visible as a golden web of lights far below.
After another hour the first daylight was
emerging and I took this picture. Since I was climbing alone I didn't push
too hard and the early start gave me enough time.
Before reaching the top of the scree slope the path turns left and
goes along this shady traverse above the glacier. In April 98 we turned
around where you can see the first sunlight.
Approaching the snowfield. At this place an ancient Inca
mummy and ruins have been found. I took a little rest there before
strapping on the
crampons and going on. The normal route crosses the snowfield below the
rocky pyramid to the left but it is also possible to go up directly to the
top of the ridge on the right side of the pyramid, what I did. The
is behind the right side of this ridge.
Atop the snowfield. Now it was possible to look down into the valley where
I came from. The rocky hill on the left edge of the snow is the place
where I took the previous picture. Climbing the snowfield was pretty cool
because sometimes there was only lightblue ice under my crampons and at
the beginning the ice was crafted into little vertical structures by
the wind and the sun.
The summit. Ten Minutes later I arrived at the little metallic cross which
markes the very top of Cerro Plomo. As a gag, my friend Sebastian gave me
the ESO embleme to take with me to the top.
Only after a short while on the summit I realized that the view has become
spectacular wide and that I was able to look over a large part of the
Andes stretching from the North to the South.
The picture shows the view to the Northeast, with Aconcagua in the
back to the left.
Aconcagua (6960m) the highest mountain in America and its famous
I read the description by Andrew Dixon in the Bradt Guide "Backpacking
in Chile & Argentina".
No problem, numerous obvious tracks all the way up.
Plomo (page of the Club Alemán Andino)