Franke's normal route is a looong scramble on loose scree and some rock. The route is not always obvious and the way to the summit is long and sometimes you feel a bit deperate. Does this slog ever end?
The peak is excellent for acclimatization and the views from the summit are excellent. You also have the option of traversing further to Lomas Amarillas a 5100m high summit further along the ridge.
Getting ThereTo the area
To the peak
Leave downhill from Piedras Grandes and walk for roughly 10-15 minutes until you arrive at a ridge. Look for tracks and a trail. You may not see it in the rocky terrain, but if you just walk uphill along the beginning of the ridge you'll encounter it sooner or later. There are lots of tracks from Guanacos (or Vicuñas?) which makes your walk easier.
When you have found the trail, just continue upwards on the actual ridge, or just below it. Sometimes it's better to stay below the rockier sections.
When the ridge connects with the valley coming from Las Veguitas, you'll see some camp platforms now and then. This is an option if you're badly acclimatized - to camp on the way.
After a long time roughly 400 vertical meters from the summit, the ridge ends and you're on the main ridge. The route is well defined here and there's some rock towers, or piles of huge rocks far away. Aim for the highest in front of you. When at the foot of it you can tell the easiest access to the highest point is to climb up into a gap in between two rock formations and then head to the left for the highest point. The last bit is the trickiest, but for anyone who has been climbing just a little bit, it shouldn't be a problem.
The summit is marked with a small cross and there was a small flag there when I summited.
Looking up-valley; you have Lomas Amarillas on the same ridge and further up the massive face of Platita. From here you can't see the summit of the highest peak in the area - Plata. It's hidden behind the sub-peak Platita.
It would be madness to negotiate all the rocks and quite large pebble scree to the bottom of the valley. The alternative is quick and easy. Start with going down the same way you arrived. When the plateau or open part ends, start looking for the ridge you earlier had climbed. Look for a camp platform. That's a very good sign that you're in the right place for the descending-trail. The platform may be a bit hard to spot and if you don't find it, look for a path going downhill to the left of the ridge you climbed before. It's a very, very loose scree path all the way to the bottom. I descended 800 meters here in less than a quarter of an hour, so it's a very fast and easy way down.
If you aren't alone here, make sure you don't kick down rocks on the person/s below you. It's very easy to start small rock avalanches. At the bottom of the valley you'll realize you arrived some hundred meters over the camp of Piedras Grandes.
Essential GearSturdy hiking shoes.
Wind proof clothing.
Plenty of water.