(5640 m / 18,504 ft.)
of two Andean lakes
Miscanti volcano is fascinating, first of all, due to its magnificent
location on the shores of the mountain
lake of the same name and its neighbor, Meñiques lagoon.
Vicuñas (Vicugna vicugna) graze on its foothills, while
red-gartered coots (Fulica armillata) build nests in the shallow
water. Early in the morning the mountains are often reflected
on the lake's waters. The new
mountain shelter of the Lican Huasi network at the lakeside is
at more than 7 kms from the Miscanti,
but still the best starting point for the ascent. The lake is
visited daily by tourist minibusses from
San Pedro; nevertheless,
going in your own vehicle is an advantage
because of the remaining distance to the mountain.
Pedro de Atacama.
to get there
Miscanti Lake is situated 115 km southeast of San Pedro and has
a relatively easy access from the route 23 towards the Sico pass.
However, it is still 7 kms from the foot
of the mountain. Many people underestimate the distances here!
In fact, it’s impossible to the tour
in a single day – not even in two. Furthermore,
if there is no snow, you
must carry all your drinking water.
your own vehicle, take the track that goes
round the lake on its eastern side and drive
as far as possible up the narrow track
that cuts across the valley southeast
of the volcano.
1300 hm, 6 km, 6 h
/ 3 h
start climbing shortly above the lakeshore
at 4190 m. Follow the wheel tracks for
approximately 1 hour
until they end at
approximately 4400 m. Then climb the ridge
in front of you from southeast; after another half hour you reach
4530 m. Follow the ridge for two more hours walking up to a large
granite ribbon which breaks off sharply
to the east at 5100 m. Struggle up
another 300 m –about an hour and
a half and you will reach
an area strewn with large
boulders. From there only a steep 180 m separates you from
the crater border. However, when you reach it
you are at 5580 m, so this may
not be the simplest hour of your life!
you are almost there now: follow
the inner part of the eastern crater rim
up to the summit in front of you, and
after another strenuous 30 minutes walking you
get to the top at 5640 m. From
there you will see the gigantic Atacama salt lake spreading out
beneath your feet and countless volcanoes
the descent you should estimate around 2-3 hours
and another 1 hour
back to the lake.
Maps for this tour
After unusual snowfall in May
Sunset at the camp