Volcan Guallatire is beleived to be the home of the devil, according to local aymara villagers. This myth is probably due to the 12 fumaroles spewing toxic sulfuric gas near the summit! It is one of the four peaks over 6000m in Parque Nacional Lauca, in Chile´s Region I. The Payachata Volcanoes, Parinacota and Pomerape receive the most attention, but there are many other worthwhile peaks in the area. One of the greatest things about climbing here is that you rarely see other groups, unlike in Parque Nacional Sajama, just over the border. This said, the relative remoteness and low use of these mountains can make the climbs more difficult and dangerous, in the event of an accident. Guallatire would make an excellent acclimation climb before tackling one of the larger or more difficult climbs of the area.
From Arica: Take La Paloma bus any day of the week at 7am to Putre. From there arrange transport with any number of local tour agencies to Gullatire basecamp. 4 X 4 is necessary. The drive will take about 3 hours from Putre. (see links below for specific transport options)
From La Paz: Take any Arica bound bus from the main bus terminal(Zuleta is recommended), and ask to be dropped off in Putre. The bus will leave you on the highway 5 km from town. You must hitchhike or walk into the village. Its usually very easy to get a ride.
Basecamp is located at 5100m, and is accessible by four wheel drive vehicle. This makes the climb exceptionally short and easy, though don´t underestimate the altitude. I wouldn´t suggest going to basecamp unless you are properly acclimated beforehand. If acclimated, the climb can be done in one night, 2 days.
(No high camp is necessary since the peak is only 6061 meters, and basecamp is so high)
Non Chilean residents will need permission from Difrol www.difrol.cl
The permission is easy to obtain and free of charge. Just be sure to plan ahead as it takes at least 2-3 days to process. You can obtain permission by calling or via fax. I called for mine, and picked up the form from the CONAF office in the plaza of Putre.
There are no restrictions on camping at the basecamps of peaks, although camping in the rest of PN Lauca can be difficult. Lauca is a National Park, but the majority of the land is still owned and maintained by the local Aymara population. Its best to check with CONAF in Putre or Arica before attempting to camp outside of designated areas.
For transport, gear rental, advice, trekking, and guides use *Sumapacha Adventure www.sumapacha.com
Eduardo Bascunan, the owner, has years of experience in the area, and is one of the few companies in the area offering full service climbing support. He is based in Arica but operates online, so he can tailor the trips to your needs.
*spanish, french, basic english
In Putre, try *Tour Andino www.tourandino.com
although I ve had mixed results with his services. On a recent climb of Sajama we arranged transport with this company, and when we arrived in Putre he was nowhere to be found.
*only spanish speaking guides
Another reputable agency is *Clinamen Tours, although he only offers transportation services. www.clinamen.cl
*french, german, spanish, english