Well, what can I say about this mountain. I think that I can do no better than repeat what Wikipedia has to say.
“Nevado Ojos del Salado is a massive stratovolcano in the Andes on the Argentina-Chile border and the highest active volcano in the world at 6,893 m (22,615 ft). It is also the second highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere and the highest in Chile. It is located about 600 km (370 mi) north of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere at 6,962 m (22,841 ft).
Due to its location near the Atacama Desert, the mountain has very dry conditions with snow usually only remaining on the peak during winter, though heavy storms can cover the surrounding area with a few feet of snow even in summer. Despite the generally dry conditions, there is a permanent crater lake about 100 m (330 ft) in diameter at an elevation of 6,390m (20,960 ft) on the eastern side of the mountain. This is most likely the highest lake of any kind in the world.”
Ascents can be made from either the Argentinian or the Chilean side of the mountain. We shall be making the attempt from the Chilean side. We are giving ourselves four days to make the climb – OK if the weather stays kind and the altitude does not become a problem. A permit is required for these border regions and our guiding outfit has organised these.
This picture shows our route of ascent and also the nature of the roads in this area! Ojos del Salado means salty eyes, the eyes being the lakes that are hidden in the folds in the mountain.
There are permanent camps on the Chilean side, though please do not think that these provide any luxury. The higher one comprises converted shipping containers! At least they will keep the elements off.
This mountain also has the only real technical challenges of those we are attempting. To reach either of the twin summits requires completion of a (low) graded rock climb – tricky at that altitude. So, assuming we get that far, we will need to pitch the climb with ropes.
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