I’ve read everything I could and talked to a bunch of people and still missed some stuff. So, just in case someone else is in my situation, and if you prepare for Ojos del Salado, hopefully, the following info will help you out a bit.
The route we took (self-guided): Santiago (we had a rented car waiting for us there), Copiapo, Laguna Rosa, Passo San Francisco, Refugio Claudio Lucero (or No 1, or Murray… whatever you want to call it), Atacama, Tejos.
We didn’t do the acclimatization by the book, but we felt pretty good. We also used some altitude sickness pills (Acetazolamida - no clue if these really worked or it was just some placebo effect on me). We chewed on some coca leaves as well and maybe those helped with the altitude too.
The first night was at the Laguna Rosa. Second night at Claudio Lucero. Third night at the Atacama. After that, we went to Tejos, on foot, back to the Atacama, by car. We left our gear and tents there and went down to Claudio Lucero. After two nights there we had to go get our stuff and leave. The weather was going from bad to worse.
Only one guy made it to the top (but I can not be sure of that) while we were there from about 40 people that were on the mountain at the time. Most of the people didn't even reach the crater rim. There was way too much snow, over 1 meter of puffy snow in the cone and the fixed ropes (we were told) are in a really bad state. For us, the summit day was supposed to be 30-31 January 2020.
Tips and details
- First of all, after you leave Copiapo, in about 50km you’ll have no phone reception. If you need it you can use a satellite phone. We didn’t have one. Make sure you check the weather forecast before leaving and keep asking about the weather when you see newcomers.
- The weather is the key element to your success. You can prepare for anything, but the weather can ruin your plans very quickly.
- We had a 2x4 petrol car. We made it to the Atacama with a bit of luck. If you want to make sure you are getting there you’ll need a 4x4 car.
- The last gas station is in Copiapo. We filled our tank and took an extra 60 liters of gas with us. We had 125 liters of gas and I think you can make it with less than that. You can buy canisters in Copiapo at Sodimac Homecenter. There you can find gas for your stove as well.
- In Copiapo, there is a supermarket in the center but there is also another one on the way to Ojos. It is called Jumbo or something like that. We didn't know but this second one is bigger and I guess you can find more stuff.
- If you are looking for coca leaves you'll find them at the street market around Copiapo stadium. 5000 pesos for a small bag if I remember correctly. That's enough for 5 people.
- You’ll have no water, even though there are some streams around Atacama and Tejos I’m not sure if that water is drinkable. We had about 160 liters of water on us (5 persons) and it was more than enough.
- The mountain permit that we applied for online was checked at Copiapo, but as far as we head, that’s not needed anymore. They told us to go to Passo San Francisco with it, but no one was there and no one asked about it on the way up nor down.
- Our first day was spent at Laguna Rosa. The best way to get there is by taking the C-341 road (see it on google maps). By taking this road there was no one to check our permit. I guess on the main road you'll need it.
- At Laguna Rosa, there is a 7000 pesos tax per person to enter the reservation/park. Also, there is a 10000 pesos tax per tent, or 20000 pesos per person if you want to sleep inside the Refugio. There is also a 40000 tax if you want the VIP Refugio with showers and stuff. The area is limited and the perimeter around the lake is off-limits mostly.
- It cost you nothing to stay at Claudio Lucero Refugio and the place is great especially in bad weather. There are 4 beds upstairs and 2 beds on the first floor. First come first served. Plenty of room to sleep on the floor. No bathrooms, no water. Read the Refugio rules from the kitchen wall.
- From Claudio Lucero to the Atacama are about 20km (about 2-2:30 hours drive). We used OsmAnd+ for offline maps and it was perfect. For the entire trip. There are a few sandy areas but nothing dangerous. After about 12-15 km the road ends with a big ditch you’ll have to go around it. If you are checking the OsmAnd map there is a dotted line there, but don’t rely on it. If you meet someone who knows the road is great. That’s the area where you might not pass if you don't have a full drive car.
- From the Atacama, if you have a good (really good) 4x4 car you can get to Tejos by car as well.
- The Atacama Refugio is small, only one bed and one long table. Good to eat there and good if the weather is bad.
- The Tejos Refugio has 6 beds and a table. You’ll be using this one the night before peak climb basically, or if the weather is bad. You can carry your tent there if you like but I wouldn't recommend staying too much at 5800m altitude.
- It will take you about 2 hours from the Atacama to Tejos. Don’t rush it.
- From Tejos to the top is only ~3km, but it will take you about 7 hours. I’m sure only about the distance. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the top.
If you have any questions I’ll be happy to help. Also sorry for my English and typos.
No comments posted yet.