Ojos del Salado is the highest point on this planet that I have ever reached. And it will probably remain that way.
It also has the distinction of holding other “high” type records. For example:
- It is the highest volcano in the world (and therefore it is the highest of the volcanic seven summits).
- It is (arguably) the highest active volcano in the world. The most recent known eruption was about 1,300 years ago, with a large margin of uncertainty. However, there is also some evidence for a minor ash emission in 1993 and there are fumaroles high on the mountain.
- It stands in the highest desert in the world – the Atacama – probably. Its average elevation in the Altiplano is higher than the Tibetan desert.
- It is the highest mountain in Chile.
- It holds the world’s highest lake. In fact is holds a number of the world’s highest lakes.
- It has suffered the ignominy of having been the subject of attempts to attain the highest altitude record for a land vehicle. Ojos del Salado is 6893m high. A Suzuki Samurai 4WD has been to 6688m, a Mercedes truck has been to 6675m and a motorbike has been ridden to 6472m
Oh and it lies in the longest (above water) mountain chain in the world.
In March 2018 another “highest” record was set. This time it was the highest kayak ever at 5707m. This achievement was by Australian, Dan Bull, who was on my Sidley expedition.
The previous highest kayak is thought to have been one down parts of the Dudh Kosi river in 1976. This river is fed by the Khumbu icefall at the foot of Mount Everest in Nepal. The team there started at around 5500m with ten to 15 fibreglass boats. Only two of the boats made it to the end.
Dan’s record was achieved over a 2.5km route on one of the lakes nestled on the flanks of the volcano. It was not even the highest lake. The ice was too thick on that one.
Even so Dan had to break ice as he paddled to clear a way. Once done he was able to paddle the whole 2.5 km. Here are some pics and a video.
Mad! And I understand that he has other plans for a different record on this mountain.
All photos copyright Dan Bull, used with permission