Day 1: Copiapo Airport - Copiapo (200m)
Transfer to hotel, meeting with guide and question time.
Later we have a welcome dinner
45 mins (D) Hotel
Day 2: Copiapo – Valle Chico (3000m)
In the morning we head out for the drive up to the Altiplano. The road heads 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 Altiplano.
3 – 4 hours Driving (BLD) camping
Day 3: Valle Chico - Laguna Santa Rosa (3800m)
We make a short walk in the morning near area, which is all part of our acclimatizing. After lunch we pack up camp and drive to our second camp site. The road takes us to the pass of, Portezuelo Maricunga, at 4125m above sea level. From the pass we head down to laguna Santa Rosa and Maricunga Salt Flat. Near the Laguna is a small hut where we make our second camp, at 3800m. We are in the middle of the Chilean high plateau, which is the most southern part of the Atacama Desert and the home of a very diverse wildlife, such as flamingos and foxes. In the evening we can make a short walk, where we have the chance see local flora and fauna where there is a large variety of birds. 2 – 3 hours (BLD) camping
Day 4: Laguna Santa Rosa – Siete Hermanos (4950m) - Laguna Santa Rosa
After breakfast we begin our acclimatization process by climbing the
easy summit of Cerro Siete Hermanos, after which we return to our camp. We will probably meet some guanaco's families (Lama Guanicoe) during the climb.
6 - 7 hours (BLD) camping
Day 5: Laguna Santa Rosa – Mina Marte – Laguna Negro Francisco (4100m)
Our drive today takes us through an incredible landscape that leads us to Laguna Del Negro Francisco (4200m) during the drive we pass Mina Marte, an abandoned gold mine in the middle of the Chilean high plateau. We stay at the CONAF ranger station.
2 – 3 hours driving (BLD) Hostel
Day 6: Laguna Negro Francisco – Volcano Copiapo (6050m) – Laguna Negro Francisco
We start very early in the morning. First we make a transfer to the start of the climb. The summit is at 6050m with views of all the surrounding mountains. Near the summit are a few Inca tombs which have been excavated by archaeologist. Back in the afternoon to Laguna Negro
9 – 10 hours (BLD) Hostel
Day 7: Laguna Negro Francisco – Laguna Verde (4350m)
We leave Vn. Copiapó area driving back on the same road and then heading North West to the international route to Argentina, gaining altitude very quickly. We can see Ojo’s in the distance from the road. Later in the day we arrive at Laguna Verde. We have the use of a base camp tent and can sit in the hot springs in the afternoon.
3 – 4 hours driving (BLD) camping
Day 8: Laguna Verde - Atacama Refuge (5200m)
A easy day today with a 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 days.
2 – 3 hours driving (BLD) camping
Day 9: Atacama Refugio (BC) -Tejos Refugio (5825m) – Base Camp
Today we carry some food and fuel up to Camp I (Tejos) following the sandy and rocky slopes, we drop our loads inside the metallic hut. We have time for rest and can take a look around. After we head back to the BC. This carry will improve our acclimatization.
5 – 7 hours (BLD) camping
Day 10: Rest day at Atacama Refugio (Base camp)
We can 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. This day can also be used as reserve day in case of bad weather.
Day 11: Atacama Refugio - Tejos Refugio (Camp I ) (5825m)
Today we work our way up, following the mountain slopes, and carrying all the rest of the gear we will need for the summit day. It's a short day: we arrive early to get hydrated and rest for tomorrow's effort.
3 – 4 hours (BLD) camping
Day 12: Tejos Refuge - Summit (6893m) - Tejos Refuge – Atacama Refugio
Starting very early in the morning, we climb 8 to 9 hours up to the summit, once again on land that may be snowy or dry depending on the weather. From this incredible summit we will see all the major peaks of the area, including Tres Cruces and Pissis to name just a few. Depending on how much time we have, we can walk back down to Refugio Atacama.
10 – 12 hours (BLD) camping
Day 13: Atacama Refugio - Chilocito (1080m)
We dismantle the tents, organize the gear, pack the equipment and load the cars. Then we drive into Argentina and continue to Chilecito where we spend the night.
7 - 8 hours driving (BLD) Hotel
Day 14: Chilecito – Mendoza (740m)
Today we drive through dry deserts with spectacular scenery. It’s a long way so we need to leave early. We stop along the way for lunch and to take photographs. Later in the day we arrive in Mendoza and check in to our hotel.
7 – 8 hours (BLD) Hotel
Day 15: Mendoza – Puente Del Inca (2600m) – Confluencia (3300m)
In the morning we pay for our climbing permits before heading out to Puente del Inca. A little further from Puente del Inca we arrive at Horocones, the park entrance. Here we need to show our climbing permits and then enjoy an easy walk up the valley up to the Confluenica.
2 - 3 hours (BLD) camping
Day 16: Confluencia – Plaza de Mules (4230m)
Today we have a long day walking up to Plaza de mules. Crossing the Playa ancha (the wide beach) along the way, we get a views of the south face of Aconagua. We also notice the amazing colours and formations in the rock which makes up the valley around us. Occasional gauchos (Argentine cowboys) pass by with their mules, living a life that hasn’t changed much in 200 years.
7 to 9 hours (BLD) camping, base camp services
Today will be a rest day in base camp. We also get our gear and food ready for our first trip up to camp one. There are a few things to see around base and we can use the local hotel to make phone calls if necessary. There is also bouldering near the base camp for those with lots of energy. We are obliged to make a medical check up with the doctors in base camp before the ascent
(BLD) camping, base camp services
Day 18: Plaza de Mules – Camp 1, Nidos de Condores (5400m) – Plaza de Mules
Today we make a carrying trip up to camp 1. We take most of the food, tents and some climbing equipment. After a rest we will head back down to PDM.
6 – 7 hours (BLD) camping, Base camp services
Day 19: Plaza de Mules – Nidos de Condores
Today we will move up to our camp one taking the same zigzag trail we took yesterday. Once in camp, we set up our tents and start preparing hot water and food.
4 – 5 hours (BLD) camping
Day 20: Nidos de Condores – Summit (6962m) – Nidos de Condores
Today is our big day, to try for the summit! We leave around 4 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 Berlin camp (5800m) a small wooden hut. Next mayor place is Independencia (6200m), a small hut almost destroyed. This is a good place for a break as it’s has some protection from the wind. After Independencia we climb up to traverse Paso el viento (windy pass). This is going to be the coldest place on the mountain and can reach up to -45°C. We going to be moving slow through here to try and conserve energy for the last part, the Canaleta! After the traverse we reach the bottom of the Canaleta. From here the summit looks really close, but it’s still 2 more hours minimum. The Canaleta can have ice and snow and this means we need to use our ice axe and crampons. The Canaleta is also the steeps part of the route so pacing is a must if your going to reach the Summit. Next stop is the summit! We made it! From the top we have amazing views all around us. After some rest and photos we head back down the same way. Going down through the Canaleta can be a little tricky, so this means we want to take it easy. Once we are below the Canaleta the trail gets easier. A few more hours and we are back at camp. Time for a rest and to rehydrate. The trip down is quick, once at back at Nidos de Condores we pack up camp and head back down to PDM. Note. This might seem quick compared to many other programs, but as we have acclimatized on Ojos del Salado, it will make a big difference. A program like this is not as hard as it looks after acclimatizing on Ojo’s. 12 – 16 hours climbing (BLD) camping, base camp services
We have an extra reserve day in case of bad weather
(BLD) camping, base camp services
Day 22: Plaza de Mules – Horocones - Penitentes
Today we will walk out, following the same route as we came up. Once at the park entrance we make a short drive to Penitentes. Once in the hotel it’s time for a cold drink and a hot shower
6 – 8 hours (BLD) Hotel
Day 23: Penitentes - Mendoza
After breakfast we pack up and head back to Mendoza.
Later in the evening we have a farewell dinner.
3 - 4 hours (BLD)
END of SERVICES