The NE side of Cazadero is the normal way of asceending the peak. Most people start from the bottom of the caneleta at the yellow sulfurous sand area at the bottom and then climb all the way along the caneleta, further to the saddle in between Cazadero proper and a side peak to the left. The below description is a variant more to the left and then direct up to the crater rim on rocks to the summit.
The altitude gain is about a 1100 meters, depending on from where you start. I have heard climbing parties usually set one more camp at the beginning of the permanent snowfields higher up at approximately 6200-6300 meters, but if you're good acclimatized I find it unnecessary.
There are no cruxes as such, but some of the scrambling and route finding can be a bit confusing. In general it's a pretty straight forward go. The main problem is to find the true summit amongst all the 5-15 meters high rock piles on the summit ridge.
For a detailed explanation; see the main page.
La rioja or Catamarca to Fiambalá.
Car, hitch or rented, to Cazadero Grande.
Walk Cazadero Grande - Aguas Calientes - Base Camp at the foot of the peak.
There are two good options.
Either you camp in the huge bowl-like valley NE of the peak, or you camp in the wide valley, which runs along the foot of Cazadero. It's easily recongnized by a section of yellow sulfur sand.
Route DescriptionFrom the camp in the "bowl" head up along a small penitentes field in a NNE direction. On top of a little flat pass you'll see the peak clearly. Head straight towards the summit. You either walk down a little bit into the valley with the yellow sand or traverse on the left hand side slope. If you like to scramble on rocks, hold a higher course on grey rocks. This can be a good option if the red gravel in the valley is wet or if there are fresh snow. If you choose to go in the middle of the valley, follow the penitentes/ice field. The most direct is to head straight for some red rocky sections. There are gaps in the rock belt which can be climbed. Be careful with loose rocks. The other option is to walk around this belt on the left hand side.
Regardless of which option you choose, you'll arrive at a little plateau with some rock towers. Find your way in between these until you are in the open in a wide valley. This valley held a lot of snow when I was there, but I'm not sure how much of it is permanent. There were some very small crevasses in the middle of this field, so I guess there's a thin glacier underneath. Walk straight towards the crater of the main peak for a fast approach.
When you have crossed the snow field/glacier, you can jump pretty well on the black rocks which are all over the place. It gets steeper the higher you get, but when you arrive at the crater rim it's flattish for some time. On you right you now have the crater. In front the crater face, which is way higher on the far side. is looming over you. Walk on the rim ridge. There are some steep scrambling parts on the way to the higest point of the rim. There's a small drop on the other side and you'll see plenty of rockpiles and pinnacles. Walk into a steep, narrow valley and up on the other side. If you think you see a pile of rocks higher than the rest, it's probably the summit. There's a small cairn on top of this pile and undeerneath a little palstic bag with a note book.
The last part to the summitInstead of walking to the crater rim and up to the summit that way, I've been told most climbers head for the saddle. This is to avoid the steep and rocky parts on the rim. It's a little bit longer, but easier in terms of steepness.
Two reasons why I choose the rim route:
Less snow. I sank down to my arm pits on the way down the normal route to saddle.
Less wind. The saddle was plagued with very strong gusts.
Another reason was it looked a tiny bit more challenging to climb the rocks and you also have very good views of the interior of the crater, which otherwise miss.
Essential GearWarm and windproof clothing.
Sun screen and suun glasses.
Plenty of water and snacks.
I didn't use crampons, but it could've been useful in parts.
Time to the summitI've been asked many times how long it took from BC to summit on other routes.
It's so individual and depends a lot on how you feel that particular day, the conditions in general and of course acclimatization.
Anyway, it took me 3 hours and 30 minutes to the summit and 1.40 down.