Llullaillaco is one of the mountains I am most looking forward to. Continuing the volcano theme, this is one on the border of Chile and Argentina. First some “anoraky” facts.
- it is the highest peak in the world without glaciers.
- it has the highest snowline in the world at around 6,500m (21,300ft). This is because it is on the Atacama desert, supposedly the driest desert in the world.
- it is the third highest volcano in the world – 6,739m (22,110ft).
- it is the seventh highest mountain in the Andes.
- it is the highest archaeological site in the world. Near the summit are remains of Incan buildings and in 1999 the mummified bodies of three Incan children were found. They had been the victims of sacrifice which occurred not long before the Spanish arrived in this part of the continent. The bodies are now in a museum in Salta, Argentina.
- it was first climbed post-Inca times only in 1952.
- Parts of the mountain comprise a minefield – a relic of a Chile-Argentina border war between 1978 and 1982.
Technically, it is not supposed to be a difficult mountain. However, it is of a different order in terms of altitude to the Mexican mountains and the weather, particularly high winds and extreme cold, will play a considerable role. Even the approach to the mountain should be an adventure as roads are just rough dirt tracks. This mountain only receives a few ascents each year.
The motivation of seeing the archaeology is the spur. We will see how Derek and I do!
Here is a map showing the three northern volcanoes.