My first journey to South America I made with the DAV Summit Club, a German travel agency. With a group of 21 people we intended to climb the highest (but extinct) volcano all over the world, the 6.893 m high Ojos del Salado. From La Paz first we went by bus and then by train (approx. 530 km) to Uyuni. Here we switched to jeeps and rode over 2000 km over the Altiplano and reached then the driest desert all over the world, the Atacama. After the climb to Ojos del Salado we went further to the south. In Caldera we switched to a bus to Santiago de Chile and covered the last 835 kilometres of our trip.
On he way to the Atacama Desert we climbed Tapaquillcha, 5.758 m and Licancabur 5.868 m for acclimatisation.
04.03.95, Laguna Verde, 4.400 m - Ojos del Salado, BC, 5.180 m
Departure from the Camp Laguna Verde was at 9am. Stop at the Hosteria Murray and deposit of the unused equipment at the police station.
Cloudless, slightly windy - over Ojos del Salado a few clouds, however, the summit was free.
With 3 jeeps we went up to the base camp, the first of two bivouacs - "J. Rojas", 5.180 m - arrival at 10:30.
Cloudless again, 16 degree above zero, but violent, ice-cold wind. 4 persons could sleep in the bivouac. The rest of the group erected tents around the container. It was an almost impossible venture, since the powerful storm.
After lunch we carried part of our equipment to the high camp. Our guides took over the tents, ropes, food and the water.
This high camp, "C.Tejos", at 5.750 m was made out of 2 containers. There was a common room and a kitchen with additional sleeping places and offered protection for maximum 12 persons (6 beds, the rest on the ground).
The first participants reached the high camp "C. Tejos" already at 4pm. Some, undermined through diarrhoea and illness, came only at 18:15.
Then we descended to the base camp and had dinner at 8am. Most of us were rather tired; the altitude gave us no end of trouble.
05.03.95, ascent to the high camp "C. Tejos", 5.750 m
There was a violent storm all night long. All of us slept rather badly, the reason was the thin air and the violent storm.
We lazed away the morning, then we packed up cosy. The storm blew undiminished, but there was blue sky with a few clouds. After lunch we ascended to the high camp. 5 of our group were not feeling too good - the altitude, lack of oxygen, headache as well as diarrhoea etc. stressed them additionally. Together they drove to the police station and waited there for the rest of the group - 700 m deeper. For them the expedition had come to an end.
The rest of the group climbed to the high camp around 1am. Clouds came up in the afternoon. However, the wind petered out.
At the high camp we merely hung around the rest of the afternoon. We had supper at 18:30, and then it got quiet an hour later. Even the wind had lain down.
06.03.95, Ojos del Salado, 6.893 m - base camp, 5.180 m
Wake up at 3am, I had slept very bad - if at all, mostly I had dozed - then breakfast at around 3:30 and marching off at 4am. No clouds in the sky, slightly windy. 3 of us stayed in the container and went down slowly to the base camp in the morning.
First along serpentines upwards to the orographic right rim of the ice field "Pentitentes". At the top across the snow-field to the right and then steep, very strenuous over loose gravel up to the crater rim. We arrived there at around 9:15. We were rather bushed.
Across the crater (hardly as such definable), arose the rocky summit. But the distance misled enormous. It took us good one hour from the crater rim to the summit - approx. 200 m.
The first participants reached the summit at around 11am. Together with Helga and Bruno I reached the cross at the summit at 1pm. There was a fixed rope for the last 100 meters. Grade II, somewhat exposed. We had a fantastic view at 16 degree below zero.
After an adequate photo-break at the summit we went down to the high camp. Dependent on the state of exhaustion, some were a bit quicker, the others slower. After a tea break we descended further to the base camp, where the last arrived about 18:30.
To celebrate the success two bottles of red wine was opened after the supper.
The entire report and more information as well as pictures you will find at http://members.aol.com/UweKraus5/site12_e.htm