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Trekking - Soquete

Soquete (5382 m / 17,658 ft.)

An easy climb

The Soquete mountain is the ideal destination to become acclimatized for higher tours. It is easy to get there (even without a car), the starting point offers simple accommodation and cooking facilities and the easy ascent can be managed in one day. The summit with its jagged rocks is unusual for a volcano; they make it easy to recognize the mountain from far away.

Starting point

San Pedro de Atacama

How to get there

All the travel agencies in San Pedro offer tours to the El Tatio geysers. After visiting the geothermal fields you can get off at the Corfo camp on the way back. The former geologists' settlement at 4380 m/14370 ft. lies only some 6 km/3.7 miles before the geysers. It has been long abandoned and is guarded by a lonely ranger who is used to visits from mountaineers. This place offers very modest accommodation and the ranger will share his cooking facilities. Do not drink the water because of its high arsenic content! Going back 1 km/0.6 miles on the road towards San Pedro we can find a little brook with drinking water running across the road.

From the Corfo camp, you can do a nice hike to the little-known Blanco geyser. Take the road towards San Pedro and after 1 km/0.6 miles turn right onto a trail which after another 3 km/1.9 miles will lead you to a steaming thermal brook with many pools. Even from far away you can distinguish the “white geyser”, an enormous sinter hill which feeds the probably most beautiful hot springs in the North of Chile. Go back to the camp on the same route or simply cross-country.

(1000 m/3281 ft., 5 km/3.11 miles, 4 h , 2-3 h )

From the Corfo camp (4380 m/14370 ft.) we already overlook the mountain further south with its characteristic jagged summit. We pass the camp huts, making straight for the volcano. The grassy slope rises softly and we gain height only slowly. After walking around the hill in front of us on its west side, after about 30 minutes we reach a little plateau at 4592 m/15066 ft. After ascending another half hour, we reach an altitude where the grass vegetation turns into volcanic scree. We carry on for another 30 minutes, arriving at the feet of the mountain at about 4857 m/15935 ft. Climbing over a little hill, after about one hour we reach the steep slope of the volcano at 5112 m/16772 ft.

Here begins the steep, but monotonous ascent which is typical of volcanoes. The light-colored scree field to the left in front of us makes a good path for the descent; however, for the strenuous ascent we better look for firmer, rocky ground. The trail winds its way for 1 hour up to a plateau (the old crater) at 5302 m/17395 ft. In June we have found frozen snow here which is why this tour might require light climbing crampons. After a short break we climb the last 30 minutes until reaching the striking summit at 5382 m/17658 ft. Not only the view will take our breath away on the summit with its rock fingers from where we can take some spectacular photos.

The descent is much easier over the light-colored, fine scree which we avoided during the ascent. Go back downhill using the same trail (2-3 h).

Maps for this tour

Descabezado Grande
The camp dog accompanied us to the top



Jagged rocks at the summit



Looking back towards the top







El Caminante