The Nevado de Chañi is a compact mountain group located between the meridians of longitude West 65º42’ and 65º48’ and the parallels of latitude South 24º00’ and 24º10’. The main summit - according to the last available surveys - is 5,949m (24º03’S and 65º44’W) is the highest point in the province of Jujuy. There is some confusion about the height of the mountain. Official, but old, official surveys from the IGM (the military geographic institute) give a height of 6,200 which is definitely an exaggeration. Some more recent surveys give about 5,900. The height of 5,949 has been many times measured with modern GPS by summiteers during the last decade.
Nevado de Chañi is the physical limit between the provinces of Jujuy and Salta. Many peaks higher than 5,000m are part of the group as the Cerro Paño (5.517m) and Nevado del Castillo (5.565 m). The highest summit of Nevado de Chañi is named Cumbre General Belgrano.
The normal route to the main summit is by the East side and is technically easy. On the south face there are challanging routes on mixed ground (D to TD) with some interesting scottish climbing. The mountain is frequently climbed by its normal route but on the South face there are so far (July 2007) only 5 or 6 recorded ascents. It is interesting to note this mountain group is made of relatively compact granite, the only exception in the North of Argentina. Several technical routes waiting for a first ascents are located in the area.
Access to Nevado de Chañi is relatively straight-forward. The access to the normal route is trough the la Quebrada de León (Jujuy), the beautiful valley of the River Leon.
From San Salvador de Jujuy take a bus or a taxi in the direction of the village of León (about 40 minutes journey). In León it is possible to hire pack animals. From León cross the motorway to get in the Quebrada de León (León river valley) hike across the sub-tropical altitude forest following the river all the way up. The main summit gets visible after passing a col at 4,000m.
There are no restrictions and fees to pay.
Camping is allowed in the area, as long permission is requested when staying on private land. It is possible to use pack animals all the way to the base of the mountain (about 5,000m), both on the South and the North side.
At about 4,700 there is a hut and at lower altitude there are basic accomodations available (herders' houses). Hence it is possible to summit directly from the hut at 4,700 in a long day and do not camp at all.
The best time to climb in autumn (April). In Summer (December-February) electric storms are frequent, in winter (June-September) the weather is very cold and windy (gales at more than 120 km/h are not infrequent).
When to go