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.
25.02.95, climb of Licancabur
Wake up at 3:30, and then breakfast about 4am. Marching off with a torch was half an hour later.
First it went over easy slopes, and then over scree of old moraines always steep uphill. It followed a wonderful sunrise at the northern rim of the Volcán Juriques.
At 4.900 m we had the first rest, then the second rest at "Campamento Egercinto", already at 5.200 m.
It got steeper and steeper; only loose rocks and scree - very strenuous. The east slope was full in the sun, but a marvellous view down to the Laguna Verde and across to the Volcán Juriques. From 5.500 m we could have a look into the crater.
At 11:45 together with the first eight participants and the guide Felix I reached the summit - after 7 hours ascent. It was warm, ten degrees above zero, cloudless, only a few cirri - a weather of dreams. We had a terrific view down to the bluish green Crater Lake. There were still some ruins of the Inca civilization at the crater rim. This mountain as a sacrificial altar was holy for them.
In the south we could make out the still active volcano "Lascar", 5.145 m with a clear cloud of smoke. In the east we had a magnificent view into the crater of Volcán Juriques.
At 13:30 the last participants reached the summit - everybody was extremely happy. All 19 participants were at the summit, among them also Hans with an age of 79 years!! It was an absolute top performance.
Our local guides had taken garlands with them. The reason was carnival.
At 2pm we descended through a rubble gully. In the upper part big boulders were lying around, but from the middle there was wonderful gravel to run downhill. The descent was not so easy, and demanded power once more.
Then further down to the Inca ruin "Estancia" and then to the campsite, where we reached at 16:45. We were rather bushed - we've had enough for today. Then we had tea and cookies; afterwards we only relaxed.
The entire report and more information as well as pictures you will find at http://members.aol.com/UweKraus5/site12_e.htm