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Colombia Team — Three Successful Peaks, One More To Go!

Over the week­end, our Colom­bia team returned from Lagu­na Grande de la Sier­ra after three suc­cess­ful sum­mits! The team will head off today towards their fourth sum­mit, Ritacu­ba Blan­co. Moun­tain Mad­ness Pres­i­dent, Mark Gun­log­son, called in yes­ter­day from the satel­lite phone to update us on the team’s progress. 

It is Sun­day morn­ing, and what a beau­ti­ful day we’ve just had. We’re quite lucky, we’ve had great weath­er the whole trip. Today we are rest­ing at Esper­an­za. It is a beau­ti­ful place that we’re stay­ing in. This work­ing hacien­da is a farm full of goats, cows, geese and all sorts of ani­mals wan­der­ing around these beau­ti­ful pas­tures. There are also big boul­ders near­by. Our cook, Rafael, whom we call Rafa, and our Colom­bian guide Mat­teo are out there boul­der­ing right now. We’ve had a great time hang­ing out with the locals and the fam­i­ly that runs the hacien­da. They have all been so wel­com­ing and hospitable. 

We got back yes­ter­day after­noon after four days up at the Lagu­na Grande, where we climbed three peaks in our short time there… not bad! We climbed Toti, Con­ca­vo and Con­cav­i­to. Every­one is doing great and we have thor­ough­ly enjoyed the beau­ti­ful sum­mits we have done so far. Con­ca­vo had a great mush­room-like cor­nice on the sum­mit and we were greet­ed with spec­tac­u­lar views on all of the peaks. The east­ern flank of the whole range drops dra­mat­i­cal­ly, about 2,000−4,000 feet, pro­vid­ing us with an edge of incred­i­ble expo­sure to peer off of towards Venezuela and the Ama­zon Basin. 

We had a nice sim­ple break­fast here this morn­ing of meat, pota­toes and eggs. We’ve got a great cook, espe­cial­ly with the gen­er­al­ly sim­ple fare that Colom­bians offer in the region. Last night we had lamb with pota­toes, lentils and rice. 

We will con­tin­ue to rest today but tomor­row we will get ready to hike up to Base Camp of Ritacu­ba Blan­co, the high­est peak in the range. Tues­day we will go for a sum­mit push and then head back to El Cocuy. We will try to send some pic­tures on Wednes­day. Talk to you soon!”

~ Mark Gunlogson

Ritacu­ba Blanco

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