OverviewChachani is one of the easiest 6000m peaks (Grade F, 3 days) along with El Misti which is in close proximity. The altitude is the biggest concern for climbers. Crampons and an ice axe are the equipment of choice, no rope or other special equipment is need since there is no glacier. First ascent listed, by Biggar, was in 1889 with a possible pre-columbian ascent due to the presence of archaeological remains near the summit. Less climbed then its neighbor El Misti, Chachani is still a busy mountain. You can be lucky and be on your own, but you might also end up in a group of 40 climbers.
Getting ThereTo Arequipa:
Getting to Arequipa is limited to a bus, train or a plane depending on where you are traveling from. There are flights from all major points into Arequipa several times a day. In 1999 flights were around $70 USD and about an hour from Lima and Cusco; nowadays flights can cost up to $170. Transportation from the airport to the city is painless and cheap.
By bus to Arequipa your choices are numerous. Costs are much cheaper but the travel time is much longer. The highway from Lima is often in poor condition and can take 12 to 20+ hours for the trip.
By train you mostly can travel to/from Puno and Juliaca (note: travel by train is only available for groups of 40 passengers or more or private charters). Although costs are not low, travel is more comfortable than by bus. You can get to Cusco by train by switching at Juliaca.
While in Arequipa:
There are numerous hotels and hostels in the city. Two recommended places are La Casa de Mi Abuela (Jerusalen 606) for mid-range accomidations. For a lower priced place to crash the Hostal Nunez (Jerusalen 528) is clean with plenty of hot water. The prices were very reasonable at less than $20 USD for two in a private room in 1999. There are plenty of cheap quality restaurants to feed you no matter what your budget.
To the Mountain:
Transport can be arranged from Arequipa. Shop around for the best price. Peru Inca Explorers (400 D Jerusalem St.) can book transport with Senior Cannon. Expect to pay about $60 USD (there and back) for transport. The ride is done by 4X4 and will take about 2h. You drop off is at about 5000m.
Incaverntura is one good tour operator to use for this climb. Their service was excellent and the experience was great. The can pick you up in Arequipa and they offer a variety of routes up Chachani.
You can also take the bus from Arequipa to the village of Chivay. Ask to be let off at the jeep track. Follow the jeep track till it ends (8km). A camping site is 1.5 hours farther next to the stone corrals. According to Bradt the summit is 10-12 hours from this campsite. From camp go up the slopes and over a point at 5852 m to reach the summit. Can be done in one long day.
Red TapeNo permits are required.
When To Climb & Routes To TryYear round, since the weather in this region of Peru is very stable and dry. The busy season tends to be from January to March.
Rockhopper added some route information. (April 04)
There are 3 routes on Chachani:
1) Northern Route or La Azufrera (2 days)
After a 3 hour ride from Arequipa, the Jeep arrives at approximately 5,000 m. First camp either here or after 2 more hours of hiking towards 5,350 m. From there next morning in 4 to 5 hours to the summit, in 3 hours descent to the Jeep. Note: when camping near the Jeep, ascent takes about 8 hours.
The "Northern Route or La Azufrera" is in fact not northern, but eastern route. From the camp the path goes to the saddle ca. 5600m. Then one can go up over the summit 5852m or traverse it to the pass 5602m. Then 400m uphill to "Fatima" and the last 100m up to reach the summit. In October 2005 footmarks were visible only on the traverse path variants. Snow started at 5500, crampons were not needed but convenient on snow and loose volcanic rocks. (thanks Darek). The route is also described under "routes".
2) Western Route past Quiscos
Within 3 days to the summit and back. Finding the route can be difficult as often no trail is available. Very impressive view of the almost vertical Southern Face of the Nevado Nocarane (5,780 m).
3) Southern Route or Cabrerías
Done in 3 days. Most technical of all routes, usually without trail. Excellent view of Arequipa and the Misti volcano.
(Note: The information is provided by Zarate Adventures.)
CampingCamping is free. You can camp at the drop off, but it is strongly recommended to climb to the higher camp at some 5400m. The weather being so dry, winter nights can get very cold. Temperatures at night in June 2003 dropped to -15c. Snow level wasn't till 5800m so you need to bring water. Snow is also full of sulfur and will most likely upset stomach if drank. Plan for at least a 4 liters per person per day.
Mountain ConditionsNo known website or phone numbers for conditions. Since the climate is very very dry, you need to bring you own water.
Miscellaneous InfoMaps: IGN sheets Arequipa 33-s and Characato 33-t, 1:100,000. Maps can be obtained from the Instituto Geografico Nacional and the South American Explorers in Lima.
In Arequipa the bookshop at Mercaderes next to the Cathedral normally sells the PIGN maps covering El Misti and Chachani.
Peru trip report. Informations, pictures and links available.
General information on the Arequipa area.