the ridge as seen from Stepanek
This route involves the ascent of Cerro Franke
prior to the traverse. Following the ridge from Franke to Lomas Amarillas involves traversing 2 km (4 km if descending the same route) at about 5000m. Good acclimatization is a “must”.
The common option is to follow the Southeast ridge bellow the rotten rocky crest. In this case the route is about Trekking with some easy scrambling (American Class 3 max / UIAA I ??).
However you may want to scramble the ridge itself. In this case you go for an Alpine climb with a theoretical grade of PD. Giving a rock climbing grade would be dangerous in this case: Beware that everything is badly rotten up there. It’s not that much about technical difficulty that it's about progressing in a very unstable rocky environment...
the ridge as seen from Las Veguitas campsite
Las Vegitas camp at 3180m is the usual start point for Franke - Lomas Amarillas Traverse route. It’s a nice meadow with lots of water available in the surroundings, situated at about a km & + 200m west of Vallecitos ski resort (30' - 1h).
From Las Vegitas, you should follow the Normal Route of Cerro Franke
to its summit.
Following the ridge from Franke to Lomas Amarillas involves traversing 2 km (4 km if descending the same route) above 5000m. Good acclimatization is a “must”.
Franke - Lomas Amarillas Traverse Route
This route starts at the connection between Cerro Franke northeast northwest ridge 20m / 30m bellow the summit of Cerro Franke (about 4900m). Follow the northwest ridge of Franke toward Lomas Amarillas. There is a kind of narrow plateau on the ridge that leads to a “rock wall” and it’s summit 1.5 km farther. This summit is not Lomas Amarillas which is to be found behind ! When reaching this “rock wall” the common route option is to follow bellow, on the right side, on the scree and / or snow because of the poor quality of the rocks constituting the ridge. Behind this false summit, also called secondary summit, you find the summit of Cerro Lomas Amarillas. You can target the saddle between the secondary summit and Lomas Amarillas and from this point follow the actual ridge or traverse few meters bellow depending the degree of difficulty you want to face. Although there is low elevation gain (+ 300m), beware that this traverse takes usually 3h30 to 4 hours due to poor terrain and route finding difficulties. An alternative descent option is to traverse Lomas Amarillas going down the normal route toward the southwest ridge.
The gear one takes here is function of the route option (bellow or on the ridge) and the climbing season, but one thing is absolutely a must, especially if you climb with partners: a helmet. Do not underestimate the danger of stones following from the ridge.
Due to the altitude, snow and even hard snow or ice may be encountered on this ridge at any time of the year: consider bringing your crampons.