- Duration: 28 days.
- Difficulty: Excellent endurance and fitness
- Space Available / Trip: Private departures with a minimum of 6 climbers
- Departures: November & January
- Expedition Cost: US $8,990 per person
- Other Costs: Private Porter: US $2,000 per person. Hotel single supplement: US $1,400, Reservation cost: US $900
- Payment Balance Due: 120 days prior departure
Ojos de Salado 6,893 m (22,615 ft) & Aconcagua 6,959m (22,841 ft)
The highest mountain in the world after Mount Everest is Aconcagua (6,959m / 22,841 ft), in Argentina’s central Andes, a popular climb for those looking for high-altitude experience on an untechnical Seven Summit. The second highest peak in the Americas is Ojos del Salado (6,893 m / 22,615 ft), an active volcano in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. Due to extreme height, arid conditions, high winds, and very low temperatures both mountains are strenuous and demanding although on the classic routes, not technical. KL Adventure offers an exclusive 28 day tour for climbers who wish to ascend these two great peaks in one fabulous expedition.
Tour Description. Our acclimatization strategy begins in the northern Chilean city of Copiapo, a rich silver and copper mining center for the Atacama region, where we spend 5 days hiking in the spectacular Nevado Tres Cruces National Park. Located to the south of the Maricunga Salar, the park abounds with fauna including flamingoes, vicuñas and guanacos. The Santa Rosa and Negro Francisco lagoons are wetlands of international importance protected under the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental agreement which lists and seeks to conserve wetlands around the world.
We then move on to Laguna Verde (4,400m / 14,765 ft), another high elevation lagoon of other-worldly beauty surrounded by the rainbow-hued desert and snow-capped volcanoes. We travel to the Refugio Atacama base camp (5,350m / 17,000 ft) in 4-wheel drive vehicles. Allowing our bodies time to acclimatize to the considerable elevation, we’ll making progressively higher ascents. A gradual acclimatization is essential to reduce the risk of altitude sickness and serious conditions like pulmonary edema.
From the Refugio Atacama base camp, we ascend to Refugio Tejos (5,750m / 19,350ft). Crossing scree slopes and occasional snow patches we’ll reach the main summit of Ojos del Salado, using a fixed rope on the final 80 meters. From the summit we’ll enjoy impressive views of the other high mountains of this magnificent range, with its 13 peaks above 6,000m / 19,685 ft.
Returning directly to Copiapo, we’ll catch the afternoon flight to Santiago where we’ll stay overnight, continuing on to Mendoza, Argentina the following morning. After obtaining our climbing permits, we’ll travel to the village of Penitentes where we begin our expedition of Aconcagua ascending by way of the Horcones Valley, with its awesome views of the mountain’s south face. We pass through Confluencia camp (3,390m / 11,122ft) and Plaza Francia (4,000m / 13,123 ft), reaching our base camp at Plaza Mulas. Ascending through the Conway Stones and past the rocky pinnacle that forms Plaza Canadá, the trail zigzags northwards through a huge scree slope to finally reach the High Camps of Nido de Condores, or Condor’s Nest (5,380m / 17,650 ft) and Berlin (5,850m / 19,192 ft). Alternatively, some groups use Piedras Blancas camp, a more spacious and protected camp 80 meters above the Berlin camp. With several days in reserve, we’ll wait for the best conditions to make the final short push to the summit, where we’ll admire the awesome views of the central Andes from the roof of America.
Day 1 Copiapo. On arrival to Copiapo, we’ll settle into our hotel in this bustling center for mining and agricultural activities in the region. We’ll meet the guides and other members of the group, make an equipment and gear check, and have a power point presentation on the expedition.
Hotel / Elevation – 543m / 1,781 ft
Day 2 Copiapo – Valle Chico. This morning we’ll make the aproximately three hour journey to Valle Chico, on a road that is half paved and half gravel. We’ll arrive to our camp, have lunch, and in the aftenoon take an acclimatization hike.
Transfer distance 130k / 80 miles / Transfer time 3 hours / Tent / Elevation Min – 543m / 1,781 ft – Max 3,200m / 10,498 ft
Day 3 Valle Chico – Laguna Santa Rosa. Today we travel to Laguna Santa Rosa, a high-altitude lake in the stunning Nevado Tres Cruces National Park. We’ll hike part of the distance in the morning along the road. The Nevado Tres Cruces Park is famous for its spectacular altiplanic scenery and abundant and varied wildlife, including three varieties of flamingoes, and herds of vincuña and guanaco. The striking Laguna Santa Rosa is located on the southern edge of the Maricunga salt lake, the most southern salar in Chile. It’s ringed by imposing snowy mountains including the impressive Tres Cruces (6,753m / 22,155 ft) and, dominating the southern horizon, Volcán Copiapo (6,052m / 19,855 ft).
Transfer distance 90k / 56 miles / Transfer time 1.5 hours / Tent / Elevation Min 3,200m / 10,498 ft – Max 3,600m / 11,811 ft
Day 4 Laguna Santa Rosa Lake – Laguna Negro Francisco. Today we travel around the east side of Volcán Copiapo to reach Laguna Negro Francisco (4,100m / 13,451 ft). This lagoon is larger than the Laguna Santa Rosa and is home to three species of flamingoes and a wide variety of waterfowl. We’ll stay overnight at the Conaf (National Forestry Corporation of Chile) hut.
Transfer distance 85k / 52 miles / Hut / Transfer time 1,5 / Elevation Min 3,600m / 11,811 ft – Max 4,100m / 13,451 ft
Day 5 Laguna Negro Francisco. Today we’ll make an easy hike near the Laguna San Francisco to aid in our acclimatization and enjoy the awesome views.
Trekking Time – 3 hours / Hut / Elevation 4,100m / 13,451 ft
Day 6 Laguna Negro Francisco– Summit Volcán Copiapo – Laguna Negro Francisco. Early this morning we’ll make a 45-minute transfer to the base of the Copiapo Volcano (5,000m / 16,404 ft). We’ll ascend this active volcano, with its sulphur fumaroles and summit lagoon, a hike of 8 to 10 hours. We return to the Conaf hut to sleep.
Trekking Time – 8-10 hours /Hut / Elevation – Min 4,100m / 13,451 ft – Max 6,052m / 19855 ft
Day 7 Laguna Negro Francisco – Laguna Verde. We’ll travel to Laguna Verde (4,325m / 14,189 ft), a beautiful lake of turquoise waters set on a high plateau, surrounded by the highest concentration of tall peaks in the Andes. These include Incahuasi (6,615m), Mulas Muertas (5,897m / 19,347 ft) and Ojos del Salado (6,893m). In the afternoon we’ll luxuriate in the exquisite natural thermal water at the rustic Laguna Verde hotsprings.
Transfer distance 44 k / 27 miles / Transfer time 1 hour / Tent / Elevation Min 4,100m / 13,451 ft – Max 4,325m / 14,189 ft
Day 8 Laguna Verde. A rest day, today we’ll relax, drink plenty of liquids, and eat well to assist in our acclimatization. We’ll enjoy the stunning landscape around this jewel of a lake.
Elevation 4,325m / 14,189 ft / Tent
Day 9 Laguna Verde – Summit Mulas Muertas – Laguna Verde. Today we ascend Mulas Muertas—Dead Mules (5,897m /19,347 ft). We may not reach the summit as it’s an exhausting one-day trip. Our objective is to gain height to aid in our acclimatization and then return to a lower elevation to sleep. We will also get a spectacular view of Laguna Verde and the route we will take on Ojos del Salado.
Elevation Min 4,325m / 14,189 ft – Max 5,897m /19,347 ft / Tent
Day 10 Laguna Verde – Refugio Atacama. We move today to the Refugio Atacama (5,350m / 17,552 ft), with its magnificent views of the majestic Ojos del Salado. Of the overall distance we will hike approximately 12 k / 7 miles. Between driving and walking the trip will take about 4 hours.
Transfer distance 35 k / 21 miles / Trekking Time 2 hours / Tent / Elevation Min 4,325m / 14,189 ft – Max 5,350m / 17,552 ft
Day 11 Refugio Atacama – Refugio Tejos – Refugio Atacama. This is a portage day in which we’ll take equipment and gear to Refugio Tejos (5,750m / 18,864 ft), a distance of 5 k / 3 mile, a hike of 2 to 3 hours. We’ll return to Refugio Atacama in the afternoon. Today’s portage—climbing up to a higher altitude and descending to a lower one to sleep—is aimed at making us stronger and helping in our adaptation to the elevation. An optimal acclimatization increases the possibility of reaching the summit successfully and in a safe and comfortable manner.
Trekking Time – 3-4 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 5,350m / 17,552 ft – Max 5,750m / 18,864 ft
Day 12 Refugio Atacama. We’ll take a rest day in camp, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating well. This will aid in our acclimatization and make us stronger for summit day.
Elevation – Min 5,350m / 17,552 ft / Tent
Day 13 Refugio Atacama – Refugio Tejos. Today we ascend to Refugio Tejos where we’ll spend the night.
Hiking Time – 1 hour / Tent / Elevation – Min 5,350m / 17,552 ft – Max 5,750m / 18,864 ft
Day 14 Refugio Tejos – Summit Ojos del Salado – Refugio Atacama. We set out at 4 or 5 in the morning, depending on the wind. This is a windy zone and, due to the altitude, extremely cold—temperatures can descend to -20 to -25 c. The ascent is by way of a scree slope, following a zigzag path for approximately 4 hours, reaching the plateau of the volcano, a climb of 25 to 30 degrees, and on up a wide ridge to a small lagoon. At the end of the scree, we turn right, toward the west side of the volcano, and after two more hours arrive at the crater. Towards the east we can see the summit. Skirting the left side of the crater we ascend a rocky ridge. The first part is without difficulty. The final part, however, contains a short technical section of grade 5 on the French scale. The guide will install a security rope and with a harness and assistance from the guide, climbers will ascend to the summit. From the top we have spectacular views of the heart of the Andes, including the impressive 6,000m-plus trio of volcanoes: Nevado Tres Cruce (6,749m / 22,142m), San Francisco (6,016m / 19,737 ft ), and Piscis (6,792m / 22,283 ft). We return to Refugio Atacama to sleep—because of the altitude, it’s difficult to get a good night sleep at Refugio Tejos. Our descent will follow the same route and will take between three and four hours.
Trekking Time – 10-13 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 5,750m / 18,864 ft – Max 6893 m / 22615 ft
Day 15 Refugio Tejos – Summit Ojos del Salado – Refugio Atacama. We’ll keep this day in reserve to allow for poor weather conditions.
Tent / Elevation – Min 5,750m / 18,864 ft – Max 6893 m / 22615 ft
Day 16 Refugio Atacama – Copiapo – Santiago. Today we return to Copiapo airport where we’ll catch the afternoon flight to Santiago. Tonight, we’ll enjoy the comfort of our hotel.
Transfer distance 300 k / 186 miles / Transfer time 5 hours / Hotel / Elevation Min 543m / 1,781 ft – Max 5,750m / 18,864 ft
Day 17 Santiago – Mendoza – Penitentes. We’ll make an early transfer to Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez Airport, taking the 50-minute flight over the main chain of the Andes Mountain Range to Mendoza, Argentina. Before leaving Mendoza, we’ll visit the Aconcagua Provincial Park’s permit office to obtain our mandatory, individual climbing permits. Then we’ll drive towards the Park, stopping for lunch in Uspallata. We’ll continue our journey east to the ski village of Penitentes, (2,580m / 8,464 ft), situated at the entrance to the Vacas Valley, which gives access to our route. We’ll stay overnight at the Hotel Ayelen in Penitentes.
Transfer distance 190 km – 118 miles / Flight 50 minutes / Transfer time 2 1/4 hours / Hotel Penitentes / elevation – Min 761 m (2,497 ft) – Max 2,580m – (8,464 ft)
Day 18 Penitentes – Confluencia. After officially entering the Park, we make a three-hour hike up the Horcones Valley, crossing the Horcones River on a bridge built during the making of the film ‘Seven Years in Tibet’. We climb a gentle, steady slope to Confluencia Camp (3,300m / 10,826 ft).
Trekking Time – 3 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 2,580m (8,464 ft) – Max 3,385m (11,103 ft)
Day 19 Confluencia – Plaza de Mulas. We make a seven – to eight-hour hike to Plaza de Mulas base camp (4,300m / 14,107 ft). Our chef will be waiting for us with hot drinks and a delicious dinner.
Trekking Time – 7-8 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 3,300m (10,826 ft) – Max 4,300m (14,107 ft)
Day 20 Plaza de Mulas. Today we’ll have a rest day in camp drinking plenty of fluids. Rest and good hydration are the essentials for an optimal acclimatization before continuing on to the rigors of the High Camps and the demands of summit day.
Tent / Elevation – 4,300m (14,107 ft)
Day 21 Plaza de Mulas – Nido de Condores camp / Plaza Canada camp – Plaza de Mulas. Today we’ll ascend and portage to Nido de Condores camp (5,550m- 18,208 ft) or Plaza Canada camp (5,050m – 16,568 ft)—depending on the guide’s criteria) carrying light loads of personal and common gear. We’ll return to the Plaza de Mulas camp to spend the night.
Trekking Time – 3 to 4 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 4,300m (14,107 ft) – Max (5,050m – 16,568 ft) / (5,550m- 18,208 ft)
Day 22 Plaza de Mulas. Today is a rest day in camp. We’ll take it easy, eat well, and drink plenty of liquids to assist in our acclimatization and make us strong for the high camps and summit day.
Tent / Elevation – 4,300m (14,000 ft)
Day 23 Plaza de Mulas – Plaza Canadá camp / Nido de Cóndores camp. Today we move back to Plaza Canadá camp or Nido de Cóndores camp. We should now be more comfortable in the Aconcagua environment and feel stronger as we grow more accustomed to the altitude.
Trekking Time – 3 to 4 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 4,200m (14,000 ft) – Max (5,050m – 16,568 ft) or (5,550m- 18,208 ft)
Day 24 Plaza Canadá camp – Nido de Condores camp / Piedras Blancas camp – Berlín. Today we’ll move to Berlín or Piedras Blancas, depending on the conditions and the guide’s criteria. This will be our last camp before the summit.
Trekking Time – 4 to 5 hours / Tent / Elevation Min – 5,050m (16,568 ft) / 5,550m (18,208 ft) – Max 5,550m / 18,208 ft (Nido de Condores) / 6,000m / 19,600 ft (Piedras Blancas)
Days 25 & 26 Piedras Blancas camp / Berlín – Summit – Piedras Blancas camp / Berlín. With a reserve day to allow for poor conditions, we’ll leave camp early this morning to make our summit push. We’ll step onto the ‘roof of America’ with great emotion, take photos beside Aconcagua’s emblematic summit cross, admire panoramic views of the central Andes, and descend tired but satisfied to our last high camp.
Trekking Time – 13 to 16 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 5,550m / 18,208 ft (Nido de Condores) / 6,000m / 19,600 ft (Piedras Blancas) – Max 6,959m (22,831 ft)
Day 27 – Piedras Blancas camp / Berlín – Plaza Mulas. We’ll descend from Piedras Blancas / Berlín via the Normal route to the Plaza de Mulas camp (4,200m / 13,779 ft), where our Aconcagua Express chef will be waiting with a delicious dinner to help restore our energy. This base camp has showers, satellite telephone, and an exquisite menu especially prepared for our Expedition.
Trekking Time – 4 to 5 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 4,300m (14,107 ft) – Max 5,550m / 18,208 ft (Nido de Condores) / 6,000m / 19,600 ft (Piedras Blancas)
Day 28 Plaza de Mulas – Santiago. From Plaza de Mulas, our arrieros (mule drivers) and the mules will help us carry out our gear and equipment. Our hike out through Playa Ancha and down the Horcones Valley to the village of Penitentes will take six to seven hours. At the Park Ranger’s Station our Aconcagua Express vehicles will be waiting to take us back to Santiago. Some members may wish to spend some time on their own in Santiago, where you can discover the city’s wide range of culinary and cultural options and its exciting night life.
Transfer distance 190 km – 118 miles / Transfer time 4 hours / Hotel / Elevation – Min 567 m (1,860 ft) – Max 4,300m (13,779 ft)
- Professional Bilingual Mountain Guide.
- Ratio Guide Clients 1-3.
- All local organization and supervision by AE Expeditions staff.
- Private transportation.
- Two (2) Hotel nights in Copiapo based on double occupancy with breakfast.
- Two (2) Hotel nights in Santiago based on double occupancy with breakfast.
- One (1) Hotel night in Penitentes based on double occupancy with half board.
- Difrol permit process.
- All meals during the expedition and trekking program.
- Full base camp set up dining tent, chair, tables, etc.
- High quality expedition common gear: The North Face, Mountain. Hardware and Marmot tents, high camp stoves & Gaz.
- Private tent at Ojos del Salado and until Aconcagua base camp.
- Permanent access to hot drinks, tea, coffee, biscuits at base camp tent.
- First aid kit, hyperbaric chamber, oxygen bottles, oximeter.
- Radio communication VHF 2 mt.
- Satellite phone at base camp on a per minute payment basis.
Services not included
- Mandatory Rescue Insurance.
- Ojos del Salado & Aconcagua climbing permit fee $850 – $1100, depending on climbing.
- Flight Santiago – Copiapo – Santiago.
- Flight Santiago – Mendoza.
- All personal climbing equipment gear.
- Porter for personal gear.
- Any cost involve in an early or late departure.
- Meals in Copiapo and Santiago.
- Any drinks (soda, beer or wine) in the cities.
- Cancellation, accident and rescue insurance.
- Cash for extra expenses.
- Any other service not mentioned in the list.
- Gratuities are not included.
- All itineraries are subject to change due to changes in the weather, individual’s acclimatization rates and the guide’s preferences.
- Personal Porter can carry 20kg maximum.
- Any departure dates can be re-scheduled with a minimum of 6 persons