Ascent of the Pissis 6795 meters in Argentina.

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Our first expedition in the Puna do Atacama had already given excellent results. Me, Luciana Moro and Pedro Abrão had done the San Francisco 6018 m, Ojos del Salado 6893 m and the Tres Cruces Sur 6748 m. To crown the expedition, the Pissis with 6795 m was still missing.

On 03/05/2018 after ascending to Tres Cruces Sur we went to Maricunga Customs to leave Chile.
However, when we arrived around 11 am, it had no power. There were a lot of tourists at that moment trying to cross the San Francisco Paso, but there was no prediction of the restoration of power. We took the opportunity to have a mate and then have lunch.

At 4 pm the Chilean Carabinero said that the paso would remain closed until the next day. There was a lot of discussion between some Carabineros and a large group of Argentines who were unprepared for the situation (without food, water and clothing for the cold). Since they would have to spend the night there or return to Copiapó. We were well acclimatized, with time, food, water, and equipped for the night. So our overnight stay was inside the Chilean customs with the right to wine.

I believe that Pedro who was happy for the summits conquered until then. He got a little too excited.
On the 06/03th we wait for everyone who was at customs to continue their journey. So we went through the process to leave Chile. At that, the person responsible for customs received us and said:
– Finally the Brazilians! An example of education. Now these Argentines…
Leaving their rivalry aside, we continued our journey.

We arrived around 4 pm in Fiambalá in the province of Catamarca. All closed due to the siesta time from 12 pm to 7 pm. A disgrace for travellers! With nothing to do, we went to Camping El Paraíso and waited for the shops to open. In addition to buying food for the next mountain. We also took some beautiful bifes de chorizo ​​to the barbecue in the evening.
Despite Pedro being a vegetarian. I roasted some vegetables for him. The corn roasted in straw was new and he loved it. The rest of the night was quiet at the campsite.

We woke up on 03/07 with the proposal to travel 177 km to the base camp called Mar del Plata at 4650 m of altitude. After leaving Ruta Nacional 60 a little before the Hotel Cortaderas, we enter a mining road towards Laguna de los Aparejos. We crossed the Portezuelo de las Lágrimas.

From this last lagoon we take a 4×4 route to Laguna Celeste and then the Balcón del Pissis.
The path is beautiful and surprising with more lagoons of other colors and flamingos.
View of the Patos Volcano or Tres Quebradas 6239 m on the border between Argentina and Chile.
From this beautiful red colored lagoon, the path begins to climb towards the base camp.
The Mar del Plata campsite is in a valley at the end of the 4×4 trail. It has an excellent area for camping, but without any water. We were setting up our tents when suddenly a whirlwind of dust hit us. I shouted for Luciana to hold the tent and we were lucky. But Pedro’s had one of the rods broken by the force of the wind.

For Pedro it was the end of the expedition, because without a tent he would not have been able to go up. Luckily I had a metallic tube and I improvised a splint for the broken rod and with silver taipe I left it in good condition. The photos below are from another expedition of ours to the site to show what the base camp looks like.
For the rest of the day we organize the equipment, clothing and food for the other days. Our strategy would be to climb Alpine style and do 2 camps before attempting the summit.

On the 08/03 after dismantling the camp and organizing everything in the freighters. We continue through the long valleys to the intermediate camp at 5400 meters. In total it was 5.5 km on foot.
Intermediate camp is very good. It has a great area with pircas for 4 tents, on the side is the base of the glacier and with luck running water. It was a peaceful overnight stay.
On 03/09 we dismantled everything with the intention of going up to 5800 meters. As the hours passed, we arrived at the intended location for the camp, but we did not find a good area. We continue up the edge of the glacier.
Note: The tracklog at the end of the report is from our last expedition in January 2022, and on this one we set up camp at 5750 meters.
We continued climbing to find a suitable spot. But it was only at 6260 meters of altitude that we found a flat area protected by a large rock. On this day we did 4 km on foot.
Despite being well acclimatized, we lacked experience. We shouldn’t have made such a high camp unnecessarily. It was very cold at night and we had a lot of insomnia. The only positive side of being so high up was that we could wake up later to do the summit.

On 03/10/2018 we woke up around 08:00 and left the tents to make the summit around 09:30. The biggest difficulty of the day was just crossing the sloping glacier on the way up and down.
We reached the summit of the Pissis Volcano around 1 pm. Tiredness was just normal due to hypoxia. The day was wonderful, but the cold and the wind were great. Sense of achievement!
We descended very carefully on the glacier ramp. We arrived at around 3 pm at the advanced camp, totaling 6.55 km on foot this day. Pedro didn’t want to spend another night so high and decided to go down. I passed Tracker’s spare key so he could have more comfort and security at base camp. Luciana and I decided to stay, as we thought the schedule was late. Pedro only managed to arrive at the base after 8 pm, when it was almost dark.

Again it was very cold at night and we slept very poorly. The other day our water was freezing even inside the thermos.
On the 11/03th we put everything away and went down to the base of the mountain. A 9.5 km trekking.
We arrived at base camp late in the morning and already packed everything in the car. We set off towards the same campsite as Fiambalá. Again arriving during the damn siesta. We waited until late eating grapes and figs straight from the tree to try to satisfy the chronic hunger. Finally we had another late barbecue to celebrate. I even forgot to take a shower and Luciana was outraged!
On the 12th and 13th of March we made a beautiful trip back to Brazil with more than 1800 km.
Without a doubt, it was a spectacular expedition with success in 3 of the 6 highest mountains of the Andes. We met Pedro Abrão, we made mountains together and we are friends to this day. A great learning!

Our tracklog:  https://www.wikiloc.com/mountaineering-trails/pissis-6795-m-115943639

Our next expedition to Pissis:  https://clubetrekking.com.br/travessias/pissis/

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Author:  Tiago Korb
Guide since 2007 by Clube Trekking.
Guided 17 different Andean summits above 6000 meters:
Aconcagua (6962m via the 360º route), Ojos del Salado (6893m – 2x),
Pissis (6795m), Mercedario (6720m – 2x), San Francisco (6018m), Fraile (6061m), Barrancas Blancas (6119m), Vicuñas (6067m), Peñas Blancas (6037), Ermitaño (6146m) and Nevado Famatina (6115m), Bonete Chico (6759m), Aracar (6095m), Quewar (6140m), Llullallaico (6752m), Antofalla (6440m), Laguna Blanca (6018m).
Owner of  Clube Trekking Santa Maria  and  Loja Bota na Trilha.

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