Ojos de Salado (6893m)
The two highest in South America
The Chilean high plateau desert east of Copiapó, above Chañaral, is well known by the world
mountaineers as it concentrates the highest number of six thousand meter peaks in the Andes.
During this trip, we propose to climb the two highest in South America, first climb is Mulas
Muertas as part of our acclimatization and then Vn. Ojos del Salado. The highest volcano in
the world. During the trip we will come across places of amazingly beautiful and diverse
nature, and from the summits the 360 degree views beyond description. After our attempt on
Ojo`s del Salado we drive through Argentina heading south towards Mendoza. From Mendoza
we head out to Aconcagua. The highest mountain in the America’s, our attempt will be a quick
ascent as we will have acclimatized on Ojo’s del Salado. On this trip we will see very different
regions and cultural difference.
Type of activity: Non technical climbing, high altitude trekking
Difficulty: Good fitness
Experience required: no experience / Basic climbing skills
Grade of climbs: F
Number of days: 25 days, 24 night’s
Tour starts in Copiapo (Chile)
Tour ends in Mendoza (Argentina)
Best time of year: November to March
Season: Dry season: days are mild and nights are cold
Highlights: Visiting the Atacama Desert, Climbing the two
highest mountains in South America. Visiting Chile and
Day 1: Copiapo airport - Copiapo (200m)
Transfer to hotel, meeting with guide and question time.
45 mins drive, Hotel 3*
Day 2: Copiapo - Valle Chico (3000m)
We leave Copiapo in the morning and head east, up the dry valleys. Scenery changes
from dry mountains to rivers in the lower valleys. Our camp is along the road in one
of the dry valleys. This first night is part of our acclimatizing before we head up to the
2 - 3 hour drive (BLD) camping
Day 3: Valle Chico - Laguna Santa Rosa (3800m) - Laguna Verde (4350m)
In the morning we can make a small trek in the area before moving camp to Laguna
Verde we head out for the drive up to the Alitplano. Our drive today takes us
through an incredible landscape that leads us to Laguna Verde (4200m) during the drive
we pass Laguna Santa Rosa, a lake where we can see bird life and salt flats. Later we
join the international route to Argentina. We have a short drive today and this will give
us time enjoy a dip in the hot springs near Laguna Verde.
3 - 4 hour drive (BLD) camping
Day 4: Laguna Verde - Mulas Muertas (5890m) - Laguna Verde
Part of our acclimatizing we will climb Mulas Muertas. Our starts from our camp at
Laguna Verde. We take a small trail leading up the north east ridge. Looking back, we
have some great views of Laguna Verde. Most people don’t reach the very summit at
the climb is too long. Around 5400m is a small flat area on the ridge and this is the high
point for most people. Same way back down to Laguna Verde.
6 - 7 hour trek (BLD) camping
Day 5: Laguna Verde (4350m) - Atacama, base camp (5300m)
Today we drive up to base camp. The road follows the dried out river beds. We cross
sand flats and steep rock, which are sometimes snow-covered slopes. At base camp
there is a small hut (Atacama refuge). This place will be our base camp for the next
1 - 2 hour drive (BLD) camping
Day 6: Atacama, base camp -Tejos Refugio (5837m) - Base Camp
Today we carry some food and fuel to Camp I (Tejos). The trail is sandy and rocky.
We walk mainly on the road which is easy walking. Once at Tejos we drop our gear
inside the metallic hut. Here we have a rest and take a look around the area before
we head back down to base camp. The walk up and sleep low is to improve our
5 - 7 hour trek (BLD) camping
Day 7: Rest day at Atacama, base camp
We use this day to rest and recover, before we go up to camp I and give the final push
to the summit, which will be physically demanding. We will prepare our gear for the
summit day. This day could be a reserve day in case we have bad weather.
Day 8: Atacama, base camp - Tejos Refugio (5825m)
Today we move up high camp, following the same trail. We also carry the rest of the
gear we will need for the summit day. We will arrive early to get hydrated and rest for
3 - 4 hour trek (BLD) camping
Day 9: Tejos Refuge - Summit (6893m) - Tejos Refuge - Atacama, base camp
Starting very early in the morning, we climb 8 to 9 hours up to the summit. The route
follows a small zig zag trail up to around 6400m. From here the trail becomes loss on
pomes stones making the terrain loos, the ground that may be snowy or dry. This part
will take us to the carter rim and from here we can see the true summit. From the carter
rim there is a small track in the rock where we reach the final rock climb to the summit.
Normally there is a fixed rope in this section to help with this part. From this amazing
summit we will see all the major summits of the area, including Tres Cruces, Pissis just
to name a few. Depending on our time we can walk back down to Refugio Atacama.
12 - 16 hour climb (BLD) camping
Day 10: Atacama Refugio - Fiambala (1505m) (Argentina) - Chilecito (1080m)
We dismantle the tents, organize the gear, pack the equipment and load the cars. We
First drive back to the Chilean border control, where we get our exit stamps to leave
Chile. We then drive back to Laguna Verde and onto Argentina. Before the town of
Fiambala is the Argentinean border control. Here we get our entrance stamps into
Argentina. We then drive to Fiambala, a small town. From here we have a 3 hour drive
8 - 9 hour drive, times include border control crossings (BL) Hotel 2*
Day 11: Chilecito - Mendoza (750m)
We want to leave early for the long drive to Mendoza. We drive along the Andes
heading south. Scenery is changing all the time from dry canyons to lush rivers. We can
stop for lunch in Villa Union, before the last stretch to Mendoza.
7 - 8 hour drive, times include some stops (B) Hotel 3*
Day 12: Mendoza - Penitentes (2500m)
In the morning we get our climbing permits before we drive out to Penitents. The drive
is along the Rio Mendoza. Along the way we can see white water rafting down the Rio
Mendoza. A lunch stop along the way at the quite town of Uspallata, after lunch we
have one more hour to the hotel at Penitents. Gear packing for the mules, for the next
3 - 4 hour drive (B) Hotel 2*
Day 13: Penitents - Pampa Leña (2800m)
A small transfer by car to Puente de Vacas, from where we start our hike up to Pampa
Lena. We follow the river up the valley. Along the way we can see green, yellow and
black lizards lurking from the sun backed rocks. We want to take today’s walk at an
easy pace, as it will help with the acclimatizing.
4 - 5 hour trek (BLD) camping
Day 14: Pampa Leña - Casa de Piedra (3200m)
Not much altitude gain today, but we have a long walk up the valley. Following the Rio
Vacas up stream we see a little wild life and if lucky we can spot wild Guanacos.
Just before reaching camp we have a first views of Aconcagua. We can see the east and
south face. We also can see the valley we have to walk up the next day.
6 - 8 hour trek (BLD) camping
Day 15: Casa de Piedra - Plaza Argentina (4200m)
Today is our last day of walking to reach base camp, the walk is up a
different valley called the Relinchos. We follow the river coming from base camp, we
also have a lot of climbing. We really feel the altitude. In front us we have great views of
the south and east face. This is one of our most important days for acclimatizing. If you
feel good arriving to base camp, it will help a lot.
7 - 8 hour trek (BLD) camping, Base camp services
Day 16: Base camp
Rest day and medical checkup by the medical staff in the base camp. Some light
actives in base camp.
(BLD) camping, base camp services
Day 17: Base camp - Camp 1 (4900m)
Today we move up to camp 1. The walk follows a small trail through the moraine. There
are some steep sections along the way. Once at camp 1 we set up camp.
5 - 7 hour trek (BLD) camping
Day 18: Camp 1 - Camp 2 (5400m) Chopper camp or Camp 3 de Guanacos
After packing up camp we head up the valley to the Collado Ameghino (5367m). At the
pass we take a trail heading right to our camp.
4 - 6 hour trek (BLD) camping
Day 19: Camp 2 - Camp 3 (5850m) Cholera
Later start as we can really start to feel the cold mornings. Small zig zag track up to a
long travers. Another small zig zag to reach our camp.
4 - 6 hour trek (BLD) camping
Day 20: Spare day
Spare day for rest or bad weather. This day can be used at the lower camps or any were
on the program.
Day 21: High camp, Cholera (5850m) - Summit (6962m) - high camp (Normal route)
Today is our big day, to try for the summit! We leave around 6 am. It’s going to be cold
on the mountain, so this means we want to dress well. The trail is well defined as it zig
zags its way up the mountain. The first mayor place is Independencia (6200m) a small