"Las Pailas" is the main rote to get to the Cumbre Libertador (6380m), the main summit of Nevado de Cachi.
From Cachi get to the small village of Las Pailas by public transport. There are buses (30 minutes, 1 USD) at 7:00, 13:00 and 19:00 from monday to friday. Service on week-ends is restricted and erratic.
Mules can be arranged in Cachi (ask of señor Walter Tolaba, also called "Patacon") or in Las Pailas (ask of señor Prieto).
Several days are necessary, three camps or better four.
From Las Pailas (3,000m) head for the leftmost valley and cross the river to get to the first camp called "Piedra Grande". As the name suggests this camp is near a big stone, clean water is very close.
Following the river and always keeping to the leftmost valleys you will get trough different camps in the following order.
4,160m S24º59.004' W66º17.566'
4,520m S24º57.872' W66º18.513'
5,185m S24º57.224' W66º20.625'
5,330m S24º57.247' W66º21.005'
6,380m S24º55.946' W66º23.428'
(all GPS co-ordinates are UTM-WGS84)
Once at camp 4 climb the headwell approximatively by the North side. The rock is steep and loose, nevertheless it is possible to find a safe way to climb it. Once on the main plateau go over the right hand side of a 6200m peak (Hoygaard) to reach the South ridge od Cachi. Stick to the easy and safe ridge and get to the summit in about 8 hours from the camp 4.
It really depends on the season. In the months of October till January (dry season) there is snow only on the last 500m of the route. The situation is radically different during the rainy season when the snow-line can get as low as 3500m. Ropes and harness are however not necessary on the normal route (There is permanent snow over 6200m but no crevasses. Ice-axe and crampons might not be necessary during the dry season but it is better to have them and leave the tools on the route if things are easier than expected.
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