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A Quick Guide To Climbing Ojas del Salado

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

Location: Argentina-Chile border in the Andes mountain range

Summit Altitude: 6,893m

Climb Duration: 9 to 15 days depending on route and departure country

General Information

In Spanish, the rough translation of Ojas del Salado is “Eyes of the Salty One”. The assumption is that this name comes from the huge deposits of salt that form “eyes” in the mountains glaciers.

Ojas del Salado is the second highest non-technical mountain in the world. Second only to its kind of neighbouring mountain, Aconcagua that is about 600km south of Ojas del Salado. The mountain is located near the Atacama Desert, which makes the conditions on and off the mountain incredibly dry.

The beautiful yet modest Ojas del Salado Lake is on the mountain’s eastern face at 6,390m. Fun fact - this is the highest lake in the world! The lake may be small, measuring about 100m in diameter but it still holds the title of being the highest body of water in the world. Another fun fact is that Ojas del Salado is the highest active stratovolcano in the world.

Logistical Information

The best time of year to climb Ojas del Salado is between December and February as it is the “warmer” time of year. It is still windy and cold with average temperatures ranging between -25°C and -30°C at the summit.

The duration of the climb varies depending on the route or country you choose to depart from. Coming in from the Chilean side can take between 9 and 15 days while coming in from the Argentinian side can take between 13 and 15 days. The duration really depends on the tour provider you are using and the acclimatization routes they have planned for you before reaching Ojos del Salado.

For more information about the 2 possible routes, please read this:

The summit attempt begins and follows the same path for both routes and normally takes between 8 and 10 hours (to the top, not including return time) and involves a bit of scrambling over rock to get there. Nearing the summit, there is a super challenging 100m stretch of snow with an incline of 35°. Be prepared to put in some hard work to push through this section.

Despite Ojas del Salado being classified as a trekking, non-technical mountain, and the fact that both routes use vehicles to drive you high up the mountain, you should still be planning a considerable amount of time to train and prepare for it.

Many people have chosen to do this mountain and assumed it would be easy because of the support of vehicles and the fairly relaxed, mountain sight seeing type itineraries but just as many have underestimated the journey and not made the summit because of this type of thinking. Training properly for it will be the difference between you enjoying every moment or struggling through each step wishing for it to be over.

For a dedicated and specific training plan for Ojas del Salado, checkout this blog:

If you’d prefer to work with a High Altitude Training Coach then click here for more information about The Mountaineering & Trekking Training Program.



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