Venezuela is a South American country bordered by the Caribbean Sea, Brazil, Colombia, and Guyana. The country is divided into four geographic regions. Namely, these are the Maracaibo lowlands, the Orinoco Plains, the Guiana Highlands, and the Coastal Range Mountains. This mountain range is considered an extension of the Andes mountains and has some of the tallest peaks in Venezuela. This article takes a look at these tallest mountains.
Highest Mountains in Venezuela
The tallest peak in Venezuela is Pico Bolívar, the summit of which stands at 16,342 feet above sea level. Although Mérida Cable Car, the highest cable car in the world, runs nearby, the only way to reach the top of Pico Bolívar is by hiking. The first recorded successful ascent to the top was in 1935 by Enrique Bourgoin, H. Molina, and Domingo Peña. Originally thought to be 16,410 feet in elevation, researchers have measured this mountain on several occasions. The last and most accurate of these measurements occurred in 2002. This mountain is covered in snow and is home to 3 glaciers, which began forming over 12,000 years ago. Today, these glaciers only cover an area of approximately 7.48 hectares.
Pico Humboldt is the second highest mountain in Venezuela. It stands at 16,207 feet above sea level and makes up part of the Coastal Range. This mountain and several surrounding peaks are located within the Sierra Nevada National Park. The first recorded successful ascent was completed in 1911 by Alfredo Jahn. Pico Humboldt is named after the German naturalist Alexander Humboldt. On its peak are two glaciers, the Eastern Coromoto and Sievers. These two are larger than the glaciers found on the previously mentioned mountain and cover an area of approximately 35.81 hectares.
Pico La Concha
Pico La Concha rises to 16,148 feet, making it the third tallest mountain in the country. It comprises part of the same mountain range as the previously mentioned peaks. This mountain was first successfully climbed 1939. It was once home to the La Garza glacier and the peak was referred to as Pico La Garza. Unfortunately, the last recorded sighting of that glacier was in 1972.
The fourth tallest mountain in Venezuela is Pico Bonpland, which is located near the previously discussed peaks. This mountain has an elevation of 16,020 feet, and is the last mountain in the country that stands over 16,000 feet. During the first recorded ascension of Pico Humboldt in 1911, the climber, Alfredo Jahn, also made it to the top of Pico Bonpland. The last glacier on this mountain was recorded in 2011.
Other high Venezuelan mountains can be found on the list below. Those not mentioned in this article are below 16,000 feet in elevation.
Effects of Climate Change
During the early 20th Century, researchers believe the glacial area of several of the Coastal Range mountains covered approximately 3.86 square miles. This coverage had decreased to .34 square miles by 1952. By 2003, nearly all of the glaciers on Venezuelan mountains had melted with the exception of a combined 44.29 hectares on Pico Bolívar and Pico Humboldt. At this rate, scientists have predicted that Venezuela will be the first country in South America without glaciers, losing them all by as soon as 2020.