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Climbing Nevado Incahuasi (Puna de Atacama)

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Climbing Nevado Incahuasi (Puna de Atacama)

Postby Andino » Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:15 pm

Hello everybody,

I was hoping to find somebody who climbed Incahuasi from Las Lozas rather from Las Grutas.
It seems that there is a running river for the first few kilometers (Rio de Las Lozas), which would help as the other track seems to be quite dry...

Las Lozas is located a few kilometers before Las Grutas when you come from Fiambala.

:?: As fas as transportation between Fiambala and Las Grutas (or Las Lozas) is concerned, is it easy to find a taxi would can help ?
Or through Jonson Reynoso organisation, would be a better bet ?

:?: To go back to Fiambala from the Puna, is it a good idea to hitchhike, or definitely a better thing to ask the taxi to come back a few days later ?

:?: For those who climbed for Las Grutas : isn't there any water at all from Las Grutas up to the first snow patches at high altitude ?

Thanks 8)
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Re: Climbing Nevado Incahuasi (Puna de Atacama)

Postby Corax » Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:50 am

It seems that there is a running river for the first few kilometers (Rio de Las Lozas), which would help as the other track seems to be quite dry...
Las Lozas is located a few kilometers before Las Grutas when you come from Fiambala.


I was told there's only running water for a short stretch and also that this walk in/out isn't that good as there are a lot of ups and downs. Haven't tried it out myself though.

As fas as transportation between Fiambala and Las Grutas (or Las Lozas) is concerned, is it easy to find a taxi would can help ?
Or through Jonson Reynoso organisation, would be a better bet ?


Any taxi will take you there, or Jonson can arrange it for you. As it's along the main road (asphalt) you can go with any kind of car. Both alternatives are ok I think.

To go back to Fiambala from the Puna, is it a good idea to hitchhike, or definitely a better thing to ask the taxi to come back a few days later ?

I've hitched from the Puna to Fiambalá three times and haven't had any problems to get a hitch. There are very few cars en route, but they stop if you hitch. The problem with pre-arranging a taxi the climb may take longer or shorter time than expected.

For those who climbed for Las Grutas : isn't there any water at all from Las Grutas up to the first snow patches at high altitude ?

The time I was there, I couldn't find any trace of drinkable water until I reached a snow field.

JC.
Last edited by Corax on Fri Aug 25, 2006 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Andino » Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:51 am

Dear JC,

Thank you for your answer.

I was told there's only running water for a short stretch and also that this walk in/out is that good as there are a lot of ups and downs. Haven't tried it out myself though


> Do you mean "is not that good" because of ups and downs ?

> How much water did you carry with you from Las Grutas ?
How many litters per person and per day would be ideal ?

> We might be 4 people, so I guess it's a bit harder to hitch-hike back to Fiambala ?

> Do you remember how much you got charged for the taxi between Fiambala and Las Grutas ?

Again thank you.
:wink:
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Postby Corax » Fri Aug 25, 2006 10:55 am

> Do you mean "is not that good" because of ups and downs ?

Yes. Correct. I was writing too fast and have edited the post to avoid confusion. NOT good.

> How much water did you carry with you from Las Grutas ?

We were very lucky to get a hitch with some archeologists, so we didn't carry any. Starting from "BC" we carried 1,5L/person and that was enough to reach the first snowfields.

> How many litters per person and per day would be ideal ?

If you have to walk from Las Grutas all the way to the snowfields, I would carry 5 liters. If well acclimatized you can walk past BC and further up on Incahuasi in one day though.
The idea of consulting Jonson for transport solves this problem, as he can take you all the way up to BC and a bit further with a 4x4.

> We might be 4 people, so I guess it's a bit harder to hitch-hike back to Fiambala ?

You can always split the group in two.

> Do you remember how much you got charged for the taxi between Fiambala and Las Grutas ?

1 peso/km ---> 200 Pesos, but that was in early 2005.
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Postby Andino » Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:29 am

You're really of great help !

You seem to have climbed quite a lot in the Puna de Atacama.

:?: What would be your Top 5 favourite ascents there ?
:?: Was Incahuasi a nice climb ? Nice view on top ?

Just to know if Incahuasi is a good choice for a climb in the Puna...

Cheers 8)
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Postby Bergrot » Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:15 pm

Incahuasi is a very good start for climbing in the Puna. The access is the easiest of all the high puna volcanoes. In Las Grutas you can do perfect acclimatization and test your high altitude ability at the San Francisco. If you want you can hire even transportation to/from the Incahuasi base camp. If you are dexterous even the Argentinean border post can provide you this transportation.

From the top you have an excellent view to all the 6000m peaks in the area and down to the Laguna Verde in Chile. But from San Francisco you can even see the Incahuasi very close, which is due to its color and shape the most beautiful volcano there, for me.
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Postby Corax » Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:00 pm

:?: What would be your Top 5 favourite ascents there ?

That's a hard question.
Random order of peaks I remember as nice climbs.
Bonete Chico, El Muerto, Pissis East and little Bonete Grande are the ones I remember as the favorites. El Muerto is probably The Favorite because of the nice snow and ice climbing.
Incahuasi is not on the list actually.
Mostly because of the very loose and light weight volcanic scree we encountered on the route we went. Too frustrating.

:?: Was Incahuasi a nice climb ? Nice view on top ?
See above.
The view was very nice though. Incahuasi is positioned in an interesting spot, from where you can see all the high peaks in the south and also many of the northern ones.

ALL peaks on the Puna are nice I think :wink:
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Postby Andino » Mon Aug 28, 2006 6:52 am

Thanks to both of you for the enlightment !!

One last question (for the time being :wink:) : is it necessary to have crampons and ice axe ?
The last part is quite steep I think, and I thought it might be necessay if the snow is very hard... no glacier at all by the way ?

Merci !
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Postby Bergrot » Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:27 pm

As always, it depends on the conditions and you have to decide. During most times you wouldn't need crampons. Take them to Las Grutas and decide there if this one kilo is it worth to be carried.

Concerning the ice axe: it is only helpful for gaining snow and ice for your soup. If you go in a group, one ice axe can be good, if you go alone leave it at home.
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Postby Andino » Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:54 am

For those who have already climbed Incahuasi :

- How many camps to go from Las Grutas (or Las Lozas) to Summit ?
- Do you remember the altitudes of each camp ?
- How many hours then to go from that camp to the summit ?

- How many days for the whole expedition to Incahuasi (including transport from/to Fiambala) ?


Thanks in advance for the enlightment :idea:
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Postby Bergrot » Wed Sep 13, 2006 9:37 am

Sorry for this short reply:
all the answers can be found on the Incahuasi site.

If you want to do it very fast, you can go in the morning from Fiambala to the base camp in 6 hours and walk further to the next camp to arrive there in the afternoon. Otherwise expect at least 3-4 days. The longer the better - its an extraordinary landscape.
Last edited by Bergrot on Wed Sep 13, 2006 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Corax » Wed Sep 13, 2006 9:42 am

Myzantrope wrote:For those who have already climbed Incahuasi :
1. - How many camps to go from Las Grutas (or Las Lozas) to Summit ?
2. - Do you remember the altitudes of each camp ?
3. - How many hours then to go from that camp to the summit ?

4. - How many days for the whole expedition to Incahuasi (including transport from/to Fiambala) ?
Thanks in advance for the enlightment :idea:


1. We got a hitch late in the day to BC with some archeologists. The next day we set one more camp on the peak.
2. BC - 4300m C1 - 5300m
3. It took us 8h, but if we had been going straight along the ridge somewhere in between 4 and 5 hours. We tried out an alternative route up "the face" in the middle of the couloir, but rotten rock stopped us.
4. Can't answer that one in a good way. We (Nadios and I) were very well acclimatized from 5 other 6000m peaks. After Incahuasi we walked further and climbed some more. El Fraile, Ojos etc. And we arrived on bicycles in Las Grutas, so it was not really the normal way of approach.

Going for it "the normal way", I would use at least ten days.
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Postby Nadios » Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:53 am

If you camp in the middle of the main couloir where the best camp spots are, make sure you leave it for the ridge on your right early or you will have to climb up vertical and rotten rock or very steep (70 degr.) snow to gain access to the normal route. It is also better to walk on the ridge than in the couloir where the scree is looser.
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Postby Andino » Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:11 pm

In Puna de Atacama, and on Incahuasi specifically, do you think that trekking shoes (with gore-tex) are enough,
or mountaineering shoes (such as La Sportiva Nepal Top) are necessary ?
(Knowing that I can fit crampons on my trekking shoes)

It's not so much the snow or ice I fear, but the cold temperature (as the wind can be pretty rough there, apparently).
I climbed Kilimanjaro in 2004, and trekking shoes were enough.

Any recommandation please ?
:lol:
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Postby Bergrot » Tue Oct 10, 2006 9:11 pm

During the two times when I was in the High Puna normal hiking boots were enough. During the last trip I used them on Incahuasi and Bonete without any problems. It depends mainly on the weather. We had even in the nights above 6000m only -5°C minimum (December). If it is much colder which is also reported by other climbers some better insulated boots should be preferred. I would do it in hiking shoes again because walking is much more comfortable in them and they are lighter. Bring heavy boots to the Puna and decide there in dependence on the current climate.
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