ApproachFrom Lo Valdes walk through the premises of the mine company (do not mind the dogs) and on towards the mountain on the dusty road - this is a very unenjoyable part of the climb.
At about 2200 m (7220 ft) you will walk over a bridge called "Puente Colina". Shortly after the bridge is a turn-off to the left. This is the trailhead, and you can also park a car here easily if you intend to come with vehicle.
Route DescriptionFrom Puenta Colina follow the path, sorrounding the black hill to your right ("El Morro) on it´s left side, then continuing towards the east Follow the path to the beautiful meadow "Valle de La Engorda", from where you can see the volcanoe already in front of you. Continue on, crossing the meadow, aiming towards the volcanoe.
Try to cross the main river and the smaller arms that run through the meadow as soon as possible. The nearer you get to the mountain, the harder this will be!
You will see two couloirs ("quebradas") leading up the mountain. The right one is the correct one. Zig-zagging will get you up onto flatter terrain and eventually to the "Refugio Plantat" at about 3150 m.
This mountain hut offers 8 sleeping places, but is often full in summer (coordinates WGS 84: Lat: 33°48'4" S; Lon: 69°57'59" W, )
This hut is very basic - you need to bring your own food, stoves, etc.
From the hut you walk up towards the crest above you, following the trail towards the NE, until you reach a small gorge that leads in NE-direction to Camp 1 at about 4200 m (13780 ft). The camp consits of three rock bands and offers a lot of fairly sheltered places. There is a path leading here, and the way is hard to miss.
On the next day cross the pentitentes field above you. At about 4350 m (14300 ft) a steep path gains the ridge to your right. Once on the ridge, follow it until about 4800 - 5000 m to make Camp 2. Where you end up building it will especially in summer depend a bit upon where you can find snow to melt! On the ridge the snow is often blown away above 5000.
From Camp 2 follow the ridge to gain the saddle (5500 m/ 18945 ft) between the North and South (=main) summit.
From here continue to the south, up the summit cone. Once you get to the crater, you can either sorround it to the left (recommended) or right to gain the main summit on the opposite of the crater.
The path up the summit is well-defined, and hard to miss. Only in winter navigation becomes more difficult.
If you want to climb the North summit, simply head towards the North from the saddle. There is no path from the saddle up to the North summit.
- clothing for high-alpine climbing; especially the summit region is very exposed to the wind
- trekking poles
- crampons for the occasional snow and ice patches
- winter climbing clothing
- randonnee gear
- GPS: the route especially to the Plantat can be hard to find in winter, often the Plantat is covered with snow
GPS coordinates Refugio Plantat:
Lat: 33°48'4" S
Lon: 69°57'59" W