Firsts and Innovations from ANDES
This page has details of some of ANDES previous successful 'First Ascents' expeditions and other innovative itineraries we have been running for over twenty years. See the Calendar page for details of all the unusual and interesting scheduled expeditions coming up in the next year or so.
For details of our "First Ascents in Peru" expedition scheduled for July 2017 click here.
Bolivia Ski Explorer 2014 - Our first trip to Bolivia on skis was successful on 4 out of 5 high summits, and we got a good long 900m ski run down of Mururata 5868m, our highest peak.
Puna First Ascents 2014 - After a run of four or five very successful first ascents trips to the Puna we had a run of bad luck with this one.
First Ascents in Peru 2013 - An expedition to three peaks in the area around Arequipa.
Our March 2016 trip to the Puna de Atacama of Argentina and Chile was very successful, with almost all of our clients making all of the summits we attempted. We climbed Laguna Blanca Sur 5912m, Laguna Blanca main peak 6012m and also the South Summit of Laguna Blanca main at 6001m. Finally three of us went on to climb the worlds highest volcano, Ojos del Salado, 6893m.
However we were looking for unclimbed peaks in the Laguna Blanca massif, and in this we were less successful. We found records on both the possible unclimbed summits we climbed that indicated others had been there before us. In both cases they thought they were on the highest peak in the range! To be fair, there were also Inca ruins and firewood on both of these summits, including a huge 6m x 12m burial platform at 6001m on Laguna Blanca South Summit, so we could only ever have made a first modern ascent.
Approaching the high camp on our first big peak, Laguna Blanca Sur.
A pile of Inca firewood on the summit of Laguna Blanca Sur, 5912m.
Inca platform on Laguna Blanca (south summit) 6001m.
Clients on the summit of Ojos del Salado, March 2016.
The twin peaks of Pico Colon and Pico Bolivar lie in the north of Colombia just 45km from the Caribbean Sea. They are the highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Unfortunately safe and unrestricted access to these mountains is very hard to get at the moment, although an ANDES trip did get in and make an ascent of Pico Colon in December 2015.
Our December 2015 trip began with nearly a week of trekking through Kogui indian lands, starting at 1000m above se level and finishing near the snow line at 4950m. Regrettably we only had time to climb Pico Colon, but even this was a major achievement as it appears to have been climbed very few times in the last 30 years. The route was relatively easy, a glacier climb with some snow to 45º.
Approaching the mountains by Landcruiser.
Kogui indian villagers... always keen on a selfie.
Rainforest camp at 2300m in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Approach trek, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Approaching Lago Nautendan, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Above is a picture of Bolivar and Colon (on the left) from near the high camp on the north side of the mountains.
Climbing the NW glacier couloir on Pico Colon, Colombia.
Petter on the summit of Pico Colon. Pico La Reina can just be made out through the cloud to the right of the climbers knee.
Pico Bolivar seen from high up on Pico Colon. The twin peaks of Pico
Colon and Pico Bolivar are the highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada de
Our June 2015 First Ascents trip to southern Peru was very successful. We were based out of the city of Arequipa and climbed mainly in the remote Cordillera Huanzo, making 2 or 3 first ascents and climbing a total of five 5000m+ peaks in a week.
Our first camp in the Cordillera Huanzo, beneath the peak of Condorillo.
Abseiling down off Condorillo
Panorama of the main peaks of the Cordillera Huanzo from the village of Huacullo, including our highest objective, Toro Rumi
Climbing on the north ridge of Toro Rumi, Cordillera Huanzo, southern Peru
For details of our "First Ascents in Peru" expedition scheduled for July 2017 click here.
Our scenic base camp in the Khara Khota valley.
Skiing on Jishka Pata, day three. Two days earlier we had skiied the peak on the left, Janco Huyo.
Myself on the summit of Jishka Pata (5508m), with Lindy. Thanks to David Roberts for the picture.
Skinning up Mururata, looking northwards to Huayna Potosi. Mururata proved to be a very interesting and beautiful mountain to do on skis.... and more or less the same view from the other end of the rope.
David skiing down Mururata at about 5400m.
We are running this trip again in May 2017. Click here for more details.
This was the trip that proved not every exploratory trip is going to go to plan. First up we got a 4x4 stuck in the mud while returning back along our own tracks down a riverbed.......
It took a lot of time and energy and fifteen men from the "illustrious municipality of Luracatao" to get us out of that one.
The next major problem was the weather turning . We'd had some thunderstorms the first week, but nothing major. On our way into our target peak (pictured above) the weather was generally excellent. But by the middle of the second week when we were at our high camp we got some serious bad weather. For two or three days we had only brief periods of dry weather, and some spectacular lightning strikes quite near the tents!
The steep south face of Mismi from above Coporaque. We had hoped to do a new route on this face, but unfortunately after a week of bad weather everything was swamped by knee or thigh deep powder snow!
The main peak of Huarancante in the centre-left, as seen form the 5284m high west summit, also known as Nevado Chucura. We did this peak on our "rest day". Needless to say we were not the first up this peak!
Our main objective on Hualca Hualca was the NW ridge, pictured here from just below our high camp. This ridge leads to an unclimbed summit tower. We got as far as the righthand of the two central towers, topping out at 5520m, but unfortunately there was no safe or sensible way off the back of this tower to the easier climbing ahead. The terrain proved much more complex than it looks in this photo
Volcan del Viento seen from Aguas Calientes - several clients later made an ascent of this 6028m peak in very different conditions. Hot sunny weather on the approach soon turned to snow and very cold camping conditions...
Although we were not able to climb Ojos del Salado, our main objective, the bad weather had us hunting around for other objectives and we eventually went off to the 6046m high peak lying northeast of Medusa, which turned out to be a (probably) unclimbed 6000m peak.! There is no real record of this peak in climbing literature or the internet and there were no signs on the summit of previous ascents - so it probably has just been overlooked all this time. Pictured below are Thom and Barry on the way there.
2008 - An attempt on an unclimbed 5000m peak in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru, but was not successful. The peak is still unclimbed as far as we know!
2007 - Another successful "First Ascents" trip to the Cordillera Vilcanota in August 2007, led by Spanish guide Pere Vilarasau.
2006 - Our first ski mountaineering trip based in Argentina was successful on Volcan Domuyo. Indeed we may well have made the first ever ski descent of this 4709m peak which is often considered the highest peak in Patagonia!
2005 - Exploratory ski mountaineering trip to Patagonia, including an ascent of the rarely climbed San Lorenzo 3706m.
2004 - Expedition to Mercedario, the rarely climbed little sister of Aconcagua.
2003 - First ascents trip to the Cordillera Apolobamba in Peru made several first ascents and climbed new routes on established peaks.
2002 - First Ascents expedition to the Cordillera Apolobamba of Peru, where we made a number of first ascents despite poor weather.
2001 - Our first trip to Colombia. Despite the bad press it's a really friendly destination with great 5000m peaks.
2000 - Our 'First Ascents' trip to the Puna de Atacama of Argentina climbed four 6000m + peaks in total, made a First British Ascent of Bonete 6759m, the fourth highest peak in the Andes and a first ever ascent of Baboso 6070m
2000 - Our First trip onto the South Patagonian Ice-cap and ascent of Volcan Lautaro 3580m, a very remote and rarely climbed peak.
1999 - Our first ski-mountaineering expedition to Chile.
1999 - Our first 'First Ascents' trip to southern Peru was successful on a number of high peaks in the Cordillera Vilcanota.
1998 - Pioneering trip to the Sierra Nevada of Venezuela, where we climbed Pico Bolivar.
1997 - Another groundbreaking trip into the remote Puna de Atacama, this time to attempt Bonete. First ascent of p.6144 to the north of Bonete.
1996 - First British Ascent of Pissis 6795m, the third highest in the Andes. First ever ascent of Nacimiento del Jagüe.
1995 - Pioneering treks around the Huayhuash and Vilcanota including a number of peak ascents now in the 'standard' itineraries of all our competitors!
1994 - Our 'Monster Descent' bike trip, a pioneering descent form over 5800m to sea level by bike, way ahead of any other business!
1993 - First British Ascent of Llullaillaco 6739m, the seventh highest peak in the Andes
1993 - Expedition to Tupungato, a rarely climbed peak on the Chilean border.