We took 'one day' option.
Managed to find a reasonable priced transport to the trailhead (225 soles / person). We reached the trailhead at 5000 m around 5 a.m. and summited few minutes before 11 a.m. Back to the car in 2 hours.
Great views to Ampato, Sabancaya (erupting) and Coropuna.
First attempt was via the Cabrerias route (8-12th April), after three 8-9 hour days of solid trekking, got within 20 metres (heightwise) of the summit on the 10th and got stopped by the snow (arriving a little too late, 4.00 pm, snow hip deep near summit), otherwise, a great route (watch out for the 'bowl' just before Pampa Grande high camp, boulder fields and loose scree). Following few days, looked for transport to the Azufrera trail head but was getting crazy quotes (450 soles, presumably only one way), decided to sign up with a tour group for 280 soles, Quechua Explorer, ascended again, this time via the North scree route (18-19th April) with Steve & Nicola and our guide, Jose, started at 2.00 am, reached the summit at 8.10 am. (Note: I'd read a few bad things about QE, personally I thought it was very good value).
Long climb up via the Cabrerías route. Should have started earlier and camped higher at Pampa Grande (we camped at 4,600m). Very long summit day, the ridge up was relentlessly steep. Summited just before sunset having started at 7:30am. Arrived back to camp 1:50am! 2 nights spent on the mountain, both at 4,600m at a good camp there, but highly recommend using Pampa Grande camp at 4,900m~ instead. The main advantage of the Cabrerías route is that it can be reached by a short taxi ride from "1ro (Primero) de Junio", a suburb of Arequipa. Stunning mountain, my first guideless 6,000er.
Pete and I paid a pretty sol to one of the local mountain guide companies to simply drive us up to the trailhead one day and retrieve us the next. The ride entailed maybe two hours on a steep, dusty, rough road, it ended on a sort of saddle where the route begins. We hiked the couple hours into basecamp late afternoon, my small UL tent allowed us to pitch on one of the few flat finely grained scree spots on the bouldery ridge just above the established camp, which cut a couple hundred feet off the next morning's ascent.
We started a little after 4am, well below freezing, scrambling up the boulder field was slightly tricky in the dark, sunrise brought us to a broad steep face with various switchback routes. Altitude hit us like a wall, we both really felt like throwing in the towel over much of the climb, but we kept on, the rising sun's warmth a motivating factor. Eventually we hit consistent snow & ice, established tracks coupled with quick thawing made cramp-ons unnecessary. Final ascent was cake, summit around maybe 9am, amazing views including a distant smoking volcano to the NNE. Hung out at the summit for awhile because the day was clear and weather was perfect as always in Arequipa.
Thinking it would be quicker and a nice alternative, we descended the due east scree face, which was a hazardous mistake. The face was a mellow enough pitch below 40-degrees but too many large rocks amid the fine scree made for a glissading nightmare, we really had to take care not to send a boulder down the mountain. Some ice-bands protruding into the slope were only a tease, their fading stability barely helped. A very unamusing slog & traverse got us back to safety in the stable ridge of boulders, back to camp to pack up then booked it down then back up to the road at the pass by 3pm, so pleased that our ride was awaiting.
Excellent scrambly but non-technical overnight summit, accompanied by the gruels of high altitude. Somehow we were the only humans out there from start to finish, summit & trek in/out totally to ourselves.
Made it to top with Jose from Quechua Explorer and Qwen from Singapore, Fabian from Germany and Sandra from Spain.
It was a hard slog, very cold due to the high winds. I got hit by altitude but pushed on and made it.
An easy route, fine weather but very cold... A lunar landscape!
It was an organized tour. The first day we had a long drive to the trailhead and a short walk to the campsite at 5200m.
The plan was to have breakfast at 0:30 and start walking at 1. For various reasons (a.o. the fact that two of our group of six reported sick - my stomach wasn`t quite with the program either, but after taking a loperamide I decided to give it a go anyway), we started at 1:40, but made good time going up. We used crampons higher up. With real good boots, I think it may have been possible without crampons, but with was much safer anyway.
It felt very cold, partly because it was windy at times, especially on the summit. I had to put on all my layers to feel reasonably comfortable, and wished I had better mittens ...
Oh, and I loved that scree and sand on the way down!
My original friend and guide couldn´t make it so I got on board with his buddy Alfredo. We went with a German girl, Magdalena, and her Australian boyfriend, Joseph. Unfortunately, Joseph had altitude sickness at had to turn around soon after leaving camp. With a little aid from me, Magdalena summited with me and Alfredo. Amazing views of the volcanic chain and the arid landscape below.
Altitude made progress very slow. Began at 230am from 5300M base camp. Snow began to soften early in the morning. Otherwise great climb and fairly good views from summit. Definitely recommend if you have a couple extra days in Arequipa!
I've been to Arequipa 3 times doing mission work; heard Chachani calling my name each time! Several summit firsts: Volcano; in Peru; over 6000M; altitude sickness (glad to skip that from now on!). Azufrera Route, but slowly due to 3 of our 5 dealing w/ AMS - 7 hrs. from BC. Very little visibility at summit. Glad we had crampons and ice axes, as snowfields on Fatima were knee deep and occasionally steep and slick. Descent was very fast. I needed more than 3 days from sea level!
As previous poster said, altitude sickness is an issue. 2 out of 5 abandoned before first col due to altitude sickness. You are supposed to acclimatize in one night for 3,300 meters altitude differential.
Reached 5800 and had to return due to waist-deep snow on the slopes of Fatima. Those amounts of snow are not common but freak snow storms happened all week long before we climbed.
Will return to get that monkey off my back!
Climbed Chachani two times when working in Arequipa. Bring enough water, a warm sleeping bag and trekking poles. No ice equipment required.
This was to be my first 6000er, but poor acclimatization and making the mistake of only taking hiking shoes forced me to give up a few hundred meters below the summit (just above the 6000m line), as I was fearing frostbite on my feet.
Even if technically very easy, climbing a mountain that high is not to be underestimated. Lesson learned.
It sure was weird sleeping at 16,600 feet.
Gingko Biloba helped, I'm thinking.
With Zarate Guide Service.
Raced to the top with Jonny Gaunt (ENG) basecamp to top in 2hrs 45mins shagged coming back down though! Dusty climb but the views are fantastic!!
Climbed as intern with Cotahouasi Adventures
It took a lot of energy going up. With the loose material each step included some sliding backwards. Coming down however was quick and a lot of fun - back on the heels and slide with each step.
This completes my Arequipa Triple Crown of Pichupichu, Misti and Chachani, which we did in 5 days. We camped low, below the base camp, at 15,990' (4874 m) on Monday night. On Tuesday we hiked La Azufrera route from there to the summit and back in 9 hours and 15 minutes, and then drove back to Arequipa that evening. Almost no snow, just a small patch before the final summit climb.
My first 6K, easy route (a hiking route with penitentes), great view of others 6ks in Volcanic Range: Ampato, Hualca Hualca and Coropuna
basically just a walk up - was pretty cold.
Great view from the top - as long as you are reasonable fit and acclimatized you will make it