Cerro los Olivares by the normal route on the Argentinian side is very easy and straight-forward but navigation is difficult and weather conditions, mainly wind, can be severe. Also penitentes (the typical snow-pinnacles formation can make the progression time-consuming).
The mountain has been climbed a little number of times and, no doubt, there are several lines still waiting for first ascent.
With an elevation of 6200 metres it is advisible a time of six days (return) to climb the mountain can be achieved only by a party well acclimatised. The villages of Las Flores, about 80km from the base camp is a friendly place where rest and acclimatise.
The summit of Cerro los Olivares is indeed on the border between Chile and Argentina.
From San Juan by public transportation to Las Flores and from there by private transportation on the road for the "Agua Negra" pass. There are about 100 km from Las Flores to the pass which marks the border between Chile and Argentina. Hitch-hiking is possible in summer but there are only 5-10 vehicles a day on the road.
The normal route starts at the point of GPS co-ordinates:
4086m, S30°16.096' - W69°47.785'
The location is about 18 km from the pass where a river crosses the road just before the road makes a large bend on the left.
From the base camp follow the river (negociate penitentes if early in summer). There are several spots, all with clean running water. The best is perhaps at the GPS WGS84 co-ordinates:
4520m, S30°14.814' - W69°50.660'
From this last place walk up and gain about 200 metres, then walk-up on the left 40° scree up to a ridge at c. 5150m. Follow the ridge downclimbing untill you reach a good, but exposed, spot of co-ordinates:
5038m, S30°15.212' - W69°51.553'
From the camp at 5038m it is possible to take the summit in a very long day (10-12 hours return) but perhaps it is best to camp just below a secondary summit of Cerro losd Olivares of co-ordinates (6-7 hours return, steep snow about 40°):
5861m, S30°15.465' - W69°52.729'
From the secondary summit follow a ridge and in three hours get to the summit of Cerro los Olivares (6200m on official map, 6160m my GPS reading in December 2006).
Warm garments, -20C sleeping bag, crampons, mountaineering ice-axe. There are some small crevasses but they are not on the route: rope and harness are not necessary.
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