Andes Website : Climbing, Skiing, Trekking and Guidebooks in South America

Chilean Volcanoes 6000m+ Dates

April to October

Duration 17 days
Grade 1A/2A
"Andes" Leadership Fee (includes leaders expenses)

 about 2500

Easy High Altitude Ascents in Northern Chile.


All are per person.

"Andes" Leadership Fee (includes leaders expenses) -- about 2500

Estimated Airfares from the UK -- 1500

Estimated Travel Costs in Chile -- 500

Estimated Accommodation & Meals -- 300

ESTIMATED TOTAL COST per person  --  4800


What's included in the price you pay ANDES and what's not.


Outline Itinerary

Days 1-2  Flights to Santiago and onwards to Arica
Day 3 Preparation in Arica and/or Putre (depends on flight schedules)
Days 4-7 Acclimatisation around Parinacota, including ascents of Guaneguane (5097m) and Choquelimpie (5298m). Mix of Putre hotel and our first camps.
Days 7-8 Overnight in hotel, then drive to Volcan Guallatiri base camp, rest and prepare.
Days 9-13 Ascents of Acotango (6052m) and Volcan Guallatiri (6063m). We may also have time to climb Capurata (5996m)
Day 14 Travel back to Arica, with time for an afternoon swim in the Pacific.
Days 15-17 Fly home via Santiago, very likely with an overnight there.


General Information about our holidays

Please read our warning on altitude before booking this expedition to high altitudes.

Who runs 'Andes' and where we are based

General information about equipment, accommodation, flights, meals etc.


The expedition will fly out to the coastal city of Arica in the extreme north of Chile via the capital Santiago. It's a biggish city just 20 miles or so from Peru. There is a long beach front, popular with Chileans from Santiago during the southern hemisphere summer months. We'll likely have an overnight here at the beginning and again at the end of the expedition, although this will depend on flight schedules when we all book flights. From Arica we will first travel to the mountain town of Putre at an altitude of 3500m, where we will spend two overnights acclimatising to the altitude. Putre is about 3 hours drive on a good asphalted road from Arica.

The town of Putre and the Nevados de Putre, photo taken on our fisrst visit there in 1991.

The wee town of Putre and the Nevados de Putre, photo taken on our first visit there by bike in 1991.


As we've done before on this itinerary we'll first do a two night camp and make some acclimatisation ascents. These will be of hills in the range of 4800-5200m, possibly climbing as high as Cerro Choquelimpie, a  5298m high hill. (Ascent pictured in the title box at top of the page). During this spell we will be camped beside the very scenic Laguna Chungara at an altitude of about 4500m. As with the main peaks, the camping is all vehicle based (or at least very close) so no backpacking is required on this expedition.


Volcan Guallatiri from the north. Our route is roughly by the left hand skyline.


The 6063m high Volcan Guallatiri is an active volcano very near the Chile-Bolivia border, but entirely in Chile. It is one of the more active volcanoes in this part of the Andes. We'll climb it by the northeast slopes, over snow and ice, from a high road end at about 5200m that we will reach with our 4x4 vehicles. This ascent usually takes about 6 to 8 hours, but with a much quicker descent. We usually camp a bit below the end of the road at an altitude of about 5000m. For more information about Volcan Guallatiri and fotos click here.


Acotango is a 6052m high extinct volcano on the Chile-Bolivia frontier. We'll climb form the end of a track at 5000m in one day. The ascent is largely on snowfields on the SW or west side of the peak (depending on the year and the snow conditions).  For more information about Volcan Acotango and fotos click here.

If time allows and people are feeling fit we may well also climb the peak of Capurata. At 5996m Capurata is one of the highest peaks in the Andes that does not reach 6000m!. It is a nice scenic ascent by the long north ridge.

Acotango as seen from an ascent of the north ridge of Capurata.

Acotango as seen from high up on the descent of the north ridge of Capurata. The distant peak on the right is Nevado Sajama, the highest mountain in Bolivia.


Although there is no difficult climbing involved in the ascents planned on this expedition clients need to have some previous experience of using an ice-axe and crampons.

Climbing to such heights is always a serious matter because of the lack of oxygen at high altitude. For this expedition good mountain fitness and stamina are important, but for high altitude expeditions clients also need good cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) fitness. This can only be maintained, by a program of intensive exercise such as sprinting (not jogging), squash or sprint cycling. This should be done in small doses (e.g. an hour every other day) over a period of at least two months.

Clients should be prepared for cold nights camping and be prepared for windy and dusty weather at times out in the mountains. As we'll be a long drive from the nearest supermarket we will have to put up with some tinned and freeze-dried food in our diet during our time in the mountains. All clients are expected to help a little with the routine work of this type of expedition; pitching tents, cooking and washing up


The climate at altitude in the northern Chilean Andes is very cold and extremely dry. In the mountains temperatures can fall to -10C at night. During the day in the mountains it can feel very warm in the strong sun, but it can also be bitterly cold and windy. It may be dry all the time we are in South America, but there is quite a high chance of a snow flurry, or occasional afternoon thunderstorm in the mountains. As we are near the tropics come prepared for about 10 hours of darkness every night. Temperatures in the valleys and around Arica and in other low lying areas will be a very pleasant 20-25C during the day.


Our expeditions are designed to be small and flexible. The expedition will be co-ordinated, organised and lead by us, but we will consult and involve the expedition members when planning the day-to-day details of the trip. Please note however that the leaders decision is final where the safety of the group or any member is in jeopardy; for example where retreat or diversion is necessary due to illness or bad weather. 

Flamingoes on the Salar de Atacama near the village of San Pedro, our acclimatisation base.

Flamingoes on the Laguna Chungara.



All clients must be insured for medical costs and repatriation in an emergency. We recommend having insurance for baggage, personal liability and cancellation as well. If you would like further advice please ask. Chile is a well developed country. Vaccinations for tetanus, typhoid and polio are recommended. The country is very safe and relaxing to travel in; theft and muggings are no more likely than they are in most of Britain or Europe.


This is an adventure holiday and all clients will be exposed to hazards not found in everyday life by taking part in this itinerary. While we take all reasonable precautions to reduce risk it is neither possible nor desirable to completely eliminate these hazards. It is important that you understand the hazards you may be exposed to before signing our booking form. We have identified the following areas as the principal additional risks of this itinerary. (Some of these could potentially result in serious injury or death). This is not a fully inclusive list - a more detailed risk assessment of this itinerary is available on our Risk Assessments page, or phone/e-mail us and ask some questions!
Driving, hotels and general safety : In Chile the driving, fire standards and general safety standards are not quite as high as in Europe, although they are now very good
Extreme remoteness : You will be camping in a remote area for several nights and therefore obtaining medical assistance for any problem will be a slow process, taking many hours. There is no chance of a helicopter rescue.
Minor slips and falls : due to steep, uneven and unstable ground.
Weather : This area is occasionally affected by severe and sometimes dangerous storms, including thunderstorms. There are sometimes high winds. Forecasts are not so reliable.
Altitude : At high altitudes there is an increased risk of medical problems, most obviously altitude illness.
Mountain Hazards : In certain places you may be subjected to a slight risk of rock fall, or slip on icy terrain or steep snow. Guallatiri is an active volcano and so you will be exposed to a  very low level of risk from any unexpected increase in volcanic activity.

Parinacota, Laguna Chungara and Guallatiri map.