Ojos del Salado (6.893 m / 22.615 ft)

Ojos del Salado:

Ojos del Salado is the highest active volcano in the world and the highest mountain in Chile. It erupted in 1993 for the last time. Shortly after Aconcagua it is the second highest mountain in the southern hemisphere. It is located in the “Nevado de Tres cruces National Park”.  It has an altitude of 6.893 m / 22.615 ft and is located on the Argentina-Chile boarder. Therefore, it can be climbed from both sides. The Argentinian side has way less bureaucracy and makes the attempt easier. Chile on the other hand offers jeeps to higher altitudes, huts and an easier ascent. It has a crater lake at a height of 6.390 m /20.960 ft, whereby it is the highest lake on earth. The name Ojos del Salado is in regard of the enormous salt deposits around the mountain and means translated “Eyes of the salt”. Furthermore, it is part of the Volcanic Seven Summits, a group of the highest volcano on each continent.

The tour:

The ascent is easy, as most of the part is on a hiking level. Only the last section to the summit is difficult and needs rope security. It has a level two norm on the UIAA scale. Depending on the fitness and acclimatization level of the mountaineers, an ascent takes four or five days. The weather is normally dry due to the close Atacama Desert, but it is always windy on the mountain. Nevertheless, storms can cover the mountain and the surroundings with snow all year round. The warmest period and best time to climb is from December to March. Yet, conditions can be though and especially windy. Weather changes rapidly and it has a fierce climate all year round.

Fun fact:

Ojos del Salado is a famous mountain for motorized ascents. Many world records have been set on the mountain to reach the highest altitude with four wheeled cars. Nowadays vehicle go up to the Refugio Tejos at 5.800 m / 19,030 ft.