National Geographic : 1950 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine National Geographic P'hotogralher W. lRobert Moore First Aid for His Pack, Not for His Toe, Concerns the Indian Porter Innocent of shoes, the Andean highlander's feet are as tough as leather, but almost as nimble as his hands. This man has dropped his hay-cradled load of pottery to repair his tattered rope-net pack. Holding one end of an agave leaf with his toes, he shreds the fibers and twists them into cord. Agave (better known as century plant, henequin, or sisal) makes the Indians' rope. Its juices yield a cleansing fluid; its flower provides food. struggle through Sangay's flanking fastnesses for "fifteen days to reach the base of the cone . . . from camp in Culebrillas Valley." Terris Moore, a member of the party and son of the leader, later made the first ascent of 24.900-foot Minva Konka in western China.* On an exploratory flight in 1943 I had seen a long highland buttress, cut by only one large river, jutting out eastward toward El Sangay from the Cordillera Oriental at the head of Guargualla Valley. There was a chance that this would turn out to be a good avenue of access. The divide had to be climbed, whether or no. If we could stay atop the knife-edged ridges from the divide onward, we should be spared the breakneck drops and heart-rending climbs of the other possible approaches. At every turn individuals, private and offi cial, whose paths we crossed promoted our plans. Ecuadorian Ambassador Galo Plaza, who was elected President of Ecuador in 1948, helped to organize the expedition in Wash ington. Don Romeo Cordovez of Quito, Dr. Felix Abad Aviles of Riobamba, and Dr. Silvio Luis Haro of Punin overwhelmed us with the proverbial hospitality of Ecuador. Rough Going, Even for Jeeps The American Ambassador and the U. S. Army Air Mission generously provided the magic carpet for our scouting flights. Major Gortaire of the Ecuadorian Armored Forces arranged to have Sergeants Pacheco and Palacios drive a pair of jeeps to the roadhead for us (page 128). Wallace Estill, of the American Embassy's legal staff, joined me for our first journey. * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "Climbing Mighty Minya Konka." by Richard L. Burdsall and Terris Moore. May, 1943.