The 2 Routes To The Summit Of Ojas del Salado
Updated: Jun 6, 2020
Location: Argentina-Chile border in the Andes mountain range
Summit Altitude: 6,893m
Best Time Of Year To Climb: between December and February
Planning on climbing Ojas del Salado? Make sure you checkout this blog:
Ojas del Salado has two potential options in terms of routes to reach the summit. These are:
Departing from the Chilean side
Departing from the Argentinean side
Both routes are fairly relaxed in comparison to a normal mountain climb at these kinds of altitudes. If you are looking for a super challenging trek then Ojos del Salado (with a tour provider) isn’t for you, but if you’re looking for a more relaxed, fun, sight seeing type of climb then keep reading!
1. Reaching The Summit Via The Chilean Side
This route is the easier and shorter between the two options. It takes between 9 and 15 days to reach the summit depending on the tour provider you choose and the mountains they have included before Ojas del Salado. What normally happens with this route and mountain is that tour providers will include one or more other peaks to acclimatise on before moving up to Ojas del Salado.
The Chilean route has three basic mountain huts along the route. These are:
Refugio Claudio Lucero (start of the route)
Refugio Atacama/Atacama Hut (5,200m)
Refugio Tejos/Tejos Hut (5,800m)
Depending on your tour provider, you will more than likely drive up to Refugio Atacama and then begin climbing the next day, moving up to Refugio Tejos. The following day will be your summit attempt, which normally takes 9 to 10 hours (plus 3 to 4 hours for descent). The route is simply with a few zig zags to start followed by a long traverse at about 6,500m. You’ll reach the main crater and then make your way over a steep gully and a technical 10m rocky section. After that it’s a few short steps to reach the summit!
Please check the itinerary with your tour provider and make sure they have planned in other mountains and varied altitudes for your acclimatization program before you drive all the way up to 5,200m.
Reaching The Summit Via The Argentinean Side
Similar to the route via Chile, the route on the Argentinean side (depending on your tour providers) will include one or more other acclimatization treks before driving up Ojos del Salado and staying at Refugio Atacama at 5,200m. Followed by the same itinerary as you’ve already read on the Chilean side. Unlike the Chilean side, you will need a climbing permit on the Argentinean side.
So What’s The Difference Between The Two Routes?
The biggest difference between the two routes really boils down to what mountains you’d like to climb and see before reaching the summit of Ojos del Salado.
If you are confident with your mountaineering and trekking abilities then you can of course take either the Chilean or Argentinean route to the summit unguided but if you are in anyway unsure or not super confident then it is always my advice to go with a guide or join a group with a tour provider.