viernes, 6 de mayo de 2011

Andes. Toponymy or place names. New oronyms. Parte I

Names in the Andes. How to name peaks, passes and glaciers in high South America.

By Evelio Echevarría Loveland (Colorado) USA

All seven Andean nations have rules instituted for giving names to newly discovered places in their territories. Regarding unnamed peaks, passes and glaciers some, or many parties, mostly foreign but also national, have ignored, or have shown little familiarity with, such rules.

Although they were originated by the relevant geographical authorities of seven nations, those rules are uniform in their purposes. They are reviewed here in order to make them more widely known to mountaineers.

I. Travelers should do their best to ascertain that no local names exist. Except for very isolated or unpopulated places like Patagonia, names very often already exist and even two or three names for a same peak are not uncommon,

Local name: Chalten
Invader name: Fitz Roy
Photo: Sevi Bohorquez

II. If no local names are forthcoming, invented names must conform to the following options:

a) If at all possible, new names should be awarded in consultaron with the local inhabitants.

b) A natural object could be named after a descriptive characteristic of its own (i.e., Cerro Mesón Alto, or "Lofty Flat-top," Chile).

c) A natural object may be named after an adjacent feature, like a pasture, alp, stream, etc. (i.e., Nevado de Tolima, so named after a regional province and place).

d) Occasionally, a name could be drawn from the local lore or tradition (i.e., Nevado de Chani, after an Inca mythical giant, Argentina).

For names not in the standard Castilian Spanish in common use among the Andean peoples, invented names should be rendered into the local vernacular, taking care to observe the proper spelling (i.e., Nevado Tacuriti, Perú, drawn from the local Quichua, "Silky Snow").

Local name: Chaupiwanka
Invader name: Punta Numa
Photo: Sevi Bohorquez

Travelers should abstain from imposing names that, however appropriate they may be, repeat those showing on existing national or local maps and charts. This is a recent restriction designed by the relevant geographical authorities of the Andean countries to avoid repetition of existing names (i.e., the much resorted to, "Cóndor," "Centinela," "Catedral" and the like).

III. Wholly unacceptable names are those commemorating friends, relatives or oneself, benefactors or saints as well as geographical features, places, historic persons, events or institutions of any homeland. Festive, humorous, political and commercial names are certain to be rejected.

Authorities expressly forbid names of persons in existence. However, they are inclined to accept names of personages of the past who had rendered signal services to the national geography and exploration (Le., Cerro Riso Patrón, Chile, so named after Luis Riso Patrón, foremost Andean explorer and surveyor).

In some cases pertaining to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, parties have christened features with the name of the boat that took them to their place of destination. But Andean rules make clear that such names would be acceptable only if they belong to boats used for charting or surveying purposes. names of boats used for simple navigation, transportation, tourism or pleasure trips will not qualify.

Local names: Cerro Kgolca - La Roca
Invader names: Cerro de Parón - La Esfinge
Photo: Sevi Bohorquez

Generally speaking, names that do not conform to the rules and restrictions described above will tend to be, as the well known climber-author John Ricker once wrote, "unacceptable and worse, tactless and offensive." Furthermore, a mountain baptized with an unacceptable name, may in full right be re-christened by posterior climbers.

It would be of a great help to the geographical authority of the country involved if new names could be connected to a well determined height or location drawn from the official maps and chatis. Such names do need to be submitted to those authorities. The simple entering of new names in mountaineering reports, sketch-maps, journals or books does not guarantee official acceptance.


1 Alpine Journal. London : The Alpine Club. 1966, pp. 144-145, editor note.
2 American Alpine Journal. New York : American Alpine Club. 1962, p. 156, editor note.
3 Armada de Chile. Departamento de Navegación e Hidrografía. Determinación de nombres geográficos. Santiago de Chile : Armada de Chile. 1967.
4 ECHEVARRÍA, Evelio. A Survey of Andean Ascent. 1961-1970. American Alpine Journal. New York : American Alpine Club. 1973, pp. 342-344, note.
5 -- Bautizo de cumbres. Problemas y soluciones. Revista Andina, nº 92. Santiago de Chile : Club Alemán Andino. 1972, pp. 21-23.
6 -- Bautizo de cumbres. La nueva guerra. En: Chile andinista. Su historia. Santiago de Chile : Autoedición. 1999, pp. 166-167.
7 Instituto Geográfico Militar de Chile. Normalización de nombres geográficos. Montreal, 1987.

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