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Some friends were planning to climb El Plomo. After my previous brush with death up there, I was keen to try again to get to the top. El Niño was playing havoc with the weather in central Chile, and there was way more snow on the mountain than usual at this time of year. I would be leaving Chile in January, and I wasn't sure if there would be an opportunity to tackle El Plomo before then, but anyway, the plan was to do a few warm-up climbs first. So a bunch of us got together one Sunday in December and headed up into the Andes.
Our destination was the summit of Cerro Pintor, about 4,150m above sea level and regarded as one of the easiest ways to climb a 4,000m+ mountain. We drove to La Parva, right up to the very top of the ski resort, from where a short hike took us up onto a ridge which was already 3,700m above sea level. It was a fairly straightforward two hour walk from there to the summit.