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Trekking - Guallatiri volcano


Guallatiri (6063 m / 19,892 ft.)

The Steam Engine

The Guallatiri volcano is in the northernmost region of Chile, west of the Quimsachata hills on the Altiplano ("high plateau"). About 30 m below its summit, you will find a fumarole, several meters across, spewing steam. The crater is covered by a glacier and the summit area is mostly snow-covered. It is a technically simple climb; however, crampons and ice-axe may be necessary. The ascent takes about 4-5 hours, if you have had a good acclimatization.

Starting Point

Putre.

How to get there

From Putre drive 63 kms along the asphalted road to the international pass by Chungará Lake. Shortly after the customs office, take a dirt road which turns to the right. After crossing the Chirigualla hot springs, take the next path to the left which leads to a small settlement with a chapel. This settlement with its little brook at 4450 m altitude, is suitable as a starting and acclimatization point for climbing Guallatiri, and also many other excursions on the Altiplano.

An alternative is to take the road to Guallatiri village. However, it's a longer road trip. If you prefer a higher acclimatization camp, there are several options close to the road up to the real starting point of the ascent, but with no water supply.

Ascent

We can still drive towards Guallatiri volcano for about half an hour (14 kms). Soon, after a few hundred meters, take the left track. At approximately 5200 m, the track becomes impassable, because of the rocks strewn all over it. Leave the car and continue on foot.

The path divides up into different directions. Take the bottom one to the east up to where it ends. From there walk up the slope without taking any particular route. In the high season, stone marks and footprints make it easy to find the way. We cross two other paths, the last one at approximately 5380 m. The best choice is to follow the wide groove which leads up to a saddle at approximately 5850 m. Then zigzag up the slope until you get to the flat dome at approximately 6050 m where you will find yourself facing an active steam fumarole. Along the edge on the left of the fumarole you reach the bumpy summit at 6063 m.

Descabezado Grande
Steam fumarole near the summit

 

 

El Caminante