What Is The Highest Mountain In Chile – Mount Ojos del Salado is the highest mountain in Chile at 6,893 meters and also the highest active volcano in the world. We mainly do private guided tours to this peak, sometimes open tours and our guide ratio is 1:6 and we drive from the mining town of Copiapo to the lakes below the mountain and a ‘ doing a few practice trips before going up to base camp and then using another high camp (in a hut) just before summit day.
Ojos del Salado usually climbs from December to the end of March. This is the warmest season in the southern hemisphere, but it is still windy and dry and conditions can be very harsh even in high season. There is a good summary of the mountain at the top for more information.
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This trip offers a great opportunity to climb high without much technical difficulty except for the summit rock tower, which is a 30m v.diff climb with a fixed rope in place, and a gradual conditioning program that gives everyone a good chance to reach the top. . . . The main problems are cold and wind, altitude and sometimes difficult terrain (ice and snow), but there are few dangers. It’s a very long day and the final climb to the summit involves rock climbing with ropes and chains to help. This volcano is less busy than Aconcagua, and the spectacular views of desert, lakes and ice-capped volcanoes make for a special trip.
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The volcano is located in a unique desert environment with powerful, deep green lakes that contrast with the color of the desert and snow-capped volcanoes. In these lakes it is possible to see large flocks of flamingos, cornbills, many ducks, foxes and guanacos that have adapted to live in this environment with night temperatures of -25ºC and winds above 130 km/h.
Our tour is independent and drives our own 4×4 off-road vehicles through the Atacama desert to reach the volcano. We prepare our food and work independently during the surge. The distance to the mountain from Copiapó is not very big, a few hundred kilometers, but it will take a few days to get there and appreciate the different landscapes. It is a few hours drive from Laguna Verde to the mountain on dirt roads.
We use Laguna Verde as our first base camp because it is sheltered and has great hot springs on the edge of the lake. From there we can do acclimatization trips. At the beginning of the hike there is a rather large shelter called Caudio Lucero, which can accommodate dozens of people. Closer to the mountain is the high camp at the Atacama reserve, which is just an open area where we use tents and sometimes other companies have set up base camps for different groups during the season.
The last Tejos cabin is actually a converted shipping container with space for about 6 beds and anyone else sleeping on the floor. It is very basic, with no cooking facilities and no outdoor toilet, but at least it is dry and safe inside from the wind.
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Among the camp facilities are the food and equipment we brought with us in the Copiapó wagons. We sleep and eat in dome tents for 2 or 3 men; sometimes the campsite has local suppliers. Toilets are standard long drops, and are usually flushed with a bowl of water. However, on the shores of Laguna Verde, where we camp, we have the pleasure of swimming in natural hot springs, which are wonderful. The lake itself is very mineral and the water is very cold. We are expecting extreme temperatures, usually very hot, dry and dusty conditions, as we get better.
Above the base camp, we can manage on our own. Everything we wear, sleep or eat has to be carried or brought to the highest levels. We seem to eat mostly dry food, especially for mountain trips, and also noodles, soup, oatmeal, etc.
First we drive to the base camp and set up our tent in a very bare place where it looks like there will be snow on the ground. Food is prepared here and eaten in tents, but again there may be a local supplier who has a large mess tent that we can use.
After a few days we move to a high camp with a shipping container converted for sleeping; there are 8 beds with space on the floor. We have to bring all our equipment to this camp and the toilets are outside.
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After the trip, it will be possible to return back to Copiapó in one day, because we do not get used to it.
You must be physically fit and able to carry heavy loads often on rocky and difficult terrain. We recommend that you prepare for a six-month training program, which will mainly focus on cardiovascular fitness, thigh and calf muscles, and a lot of walking with a 15 kg backpack.
This trip is about the same level as Aconcagua and more difficult than a 6000m peak like Island Peak. This is mainly due to the weather, the wind can be very cold and this is a very dry cold. Good equipment is essential, but so is strong physical and mental ability.
This is not a technical peak, and the climb is never bad, except for a bridge move just below the roof, but it does not require equipment to be roped.
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Ojos is an old volcano, so it has easy slopes to the snow covered and exposed caldera. The caldera itself is not difficult, and there is a lake to walk on, which is the highest lake in the world, except very shallow and mostly frozen.
Just below the roof is a small piece of pure rock with hard lines. This is HVS at its best, even if the height kicks you! It is not a long section and there is a bridge movement with some air underfoot, but again it is not particularly difficult. The last summit is quite small and rocky considering such a large and wide mountain.
For the rest of the trip, expect desert bush and dry conditions common in the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world outside of Antarctica. There is hardly any water, so we have to take all our water from Copiapó to the camps. This means that vehicles carry the entire distance. Trekking tours, especially through Laguna Verde, are wonderful experiences and you will often come across the remains of fossilized wildlife such as cougars. It is very hot, dry and dusty in places, but there are green areas further down. The raw landscape is beautiful, full of volcanoes as far as the eye can see.
Good teamwork, high level hiking skills, camping and altitude sickness will provide useful experience for this trip. It is important to be efficient and know cold weather survival skills and camping basics.
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It is not easy to set up a tent in a strong cold wind and it can be difficult to prepare dry food for 3 people in a small space. Physical fitness alone gives people the confidence to climb a mountain, but preparation should also include reading about the mountain, knowing what to pack and where to put things. Ojos del Salado’s problems also include sunburn, cold sores and fatigue from being at such a high altitude.
Airplane You must arrive in Copiapó, Chile, almost certainly via Santiago, Argentina. You can fly to Santiago with several changes that go through Buenos Aires or Sao Paulo, which are the closest major hubs. The airlines serving the route are LanChile, TAM Brazil, Iberia, Air France and British Airways. Flights can be quite expensive, so it is best to book in advance.
After flying to Santiago, we travel by night bus to Copiapó. We can arrange a private coach for the whole party (11 hours). Or you can go by public transport bus. From Santiago Airport Terminal, take Bus Sur, which leaves every 15 minutes and takes 30 minutes to Terminal de Buses Alameda. From there it’s an 11-hour bus ride to Copiapó. The best “class” is half-chama, including “bed”, food, drink and costs about £14 or €20. There are many buses going north to Copiapó, Pullman is also good.
Vaccinations are not currently required to enter Chile, but you should consult your doctor if you are concerned about any existing illnesses or health problems.
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Baggage Clearly mark your contact information and the contact information of the company Adventure Alternative in South America in the luggage, which we will give you before departure.
We recommend taking out insurance as soon as possible to cover events that may cancel the trip. You need to make sure you have one
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