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Cerro Chucula 5760m Cerro Pabellón 5331m Cerro Morocho 5050m Cerro Peinado 5741m Cerro El Cóndor 6373m Cerro El Fraile 6062m Cerro de los Aparejos 4719m Cerro Negro de la Laguna Verde 5764m Ojos del Salado 6891m | Alta Catamarca, Argentina


In the following, I will give other peaks of the area which were not climbed by our expedition, but which you can try out with a little more information. It is simply to awaken someone's curiosity because there is a lot of information on the area. None of the peaks I mention have any outstanding technical difficulty, although some of them are very remote, and the infrastructure for accessing and climbing may be really complicated. The best time to try to climb these mountains is between November and March.


Area: Alta Catamarca, Argentina               Andes

Type of activity: Expeditions

I also recommend reading:  Index of the area     Villages and refuges     Recommendations     Transports


Cerro Chucula 5760m | Alta Catamarca, Argentina


Map:  Carta topográfica-Hoja 2769-17 Paso de San Francisco 1:100.000 IGM Argentino and Carta topográfica-Hoja 2769-18 Cerro Chucula 1:100.000 IGM Argentino

Geographical location: To the north east of Las Grutas or to the east of Cerro Bertrand and Cerro Pabellón

A little information: An unexplored mountain. It is necessary to approach the base by 4x4 from Las Grutas, or from further east, leaving the main road to the north. We believe that a route may be traced from the south or from the west by making a high altitude intermediate camp around some snow patch (scarce).






1 Cerro Chucula from Las Grutas

2 Cerro Chucula from Cerro Bertrand

3 Chucula from Cerro San Francisco

4 From Quitapenas, the possible approach by car is seen


Cerro Pabellón 5331m | Alta Catamarca, Argentina


Map:  Carta topográfica-Hoja 2769-17 Paso de San Francisco 1:100.000 IGM Argentino

Geographical location: To the north of Las Grutas or to the north-east of Cerro Bertrand

A little information: A similar mountain to Cerro Bertrand but further away still. A very long day on foot or an attempt may be made at a partial approach by 4x4. The first modern climb was made during the Catamarca winter of 2008 walking out of “las Grutas”.






5 Cerro Pabellón from Cerro Bertrand

6 Cerro Pabellón from South

7 Possible route to Cerro Pabellón



Cerro Morocho 5050m | Alta Catamarca, Argentina


Map:  Carta topográfica-Hoja 2769-23 Cerro de Incahuasi 1:100.000 IGM Argentino

Geographical location: To the south of Las Grutas and the Laguna de San Francisco.

A little information: A peak very close to Las Grutas and with easy access by 4x4 going around the Laguna de San Francisco. The two highest points have an altitude of about 5050m. The one on the right may be climbed from the pass itself (between el Morocho and Incahuasi), and the other, over some of the ridges in front. It is also possible to do a crossing, by going round it to the west and then to the south, and you will end up at the main road a little above Las Lozas (2-3 days). The peak has very pretty views of the area.






8 Laguna de San Francisco and Cerro Morocho

9 The different heads of Cerro Morocho

10 Cerro Morocho from Cerro Bertrand

11 Highest peaks


Cerro Peinado 5741m | Alta Catamarca, Argentina


Map:  Carta topográfica-Hoja 2769-11 Cerro El Cóndor 1:100.000 IGM Argentino

Geographical location: To the north of Las Grutas and Cerro Bertrand.

Presentation: A spectacular volcano from any angle, undoubtedly if we ever return to the area we will try to climb it. It is a small expedition in itself. The approach by car promises adventure (although there is a clear sign of a trail), and the ascent must surely be hard due to the lava flow type of terrain. The cone of the volcano is perfect, and at its base, there are many remains of past eruptions with the classical "waves" where its name surely comes from (peinado = combed).

Acces by two 4x4: The access to Volcán Peinado is advisable in two 4x4s as the path is very hard, and in a poor state. We will leave Las Grutas by road for el Paso San Francisco, and shortly before we find the track that leads for the Dos Conos volcano, another trail goes off to the north which will then lead us after quite a while along a bad path to the Laguna Amarga (3950m) at the foot of the Peinado volcano. We do not know if it is possible to go higher by 4x4.

A little information: When we reach Laguna Amarga and depending on the exact point where you can get to buy car, we are almost sure to have to divide the climb into two days. It does not seem possible to be able to get water, so you will have to take as much as you need for the two days. Camp 1 can be set up when you find a good place for spreading the difference in height over the two days. There is a small pass to the south of the summit which promises to be a good place for camping (approximately 5100 m) but maybe this is too high, and it is better to do so under the pass. Everything is relative as we have never been there, but this is the impression you get from a distance.

Thanks to information provided by Marcelo Scanu (who achieved the second modern ascent of el Peinado), I can say that it is not necessary to start walking from Laguna Amarga (3950m); they did so from the former camp to the side of the mining track that goes there (4350m), just where the most striking lava flow of el Peinado finishes. From the camp, they zigzagged upwards to 4800m, under the Southern pass of the summit. There they carried water for there is none either at the base camp or on the way in the form of a snow patch. From this point they continued walking over the lighter, more distinguishable lava flow until the summit. The terrain is terribly rough and stones may even fall (they took eight hours just to climb). Here you can read a tale written by them after completing the climb.






 1P Cerro Peinado from Cerro Bertrand

2P Possible access route

 3P Possible places for setting up C1

4P Image by Google Earth


A note for Marcelo Scanu: "Leyendo la página del amigo Isaac no pude más que reír cuando vi la proyectada ruta en el Peinado, el cual, como él dice, solamente vio desde lejos. Esto es, desde el Bertrand, desde donde también lo observé yo 1 año de subirlo. Antes aún vi su hermoso cono después de coronar en solitario y bastante mal del estómago, un cerro virgen al este del Dos Conos. Hermosa visión! Como Isaac, yo también hice mentalmente una ruta parecida pensando en ir pronto.

La expedición se retrasó un poco, sólo agregué algo de información como el mapa, unas fotos y artículos y la escueta descripción de la ruta de los incas y del único ascenso moderno entonces: se ascendió por la ladera norte. Corría 1996, no teníamos Google Earth (bah, no teníamos Google ni Internet!), sí llevábamos por primera vez un GPS y teníamos con el aparato más dudas que certezas. Resultó de muchísima utilidad.

Ya en situ, la ruta no pudo realizarse tal cual como lo había trazado mentalmente (al igual que Isaac). Las endemoniadas coladas de lava, los peligrosos acarreos y los médanos traicioneros nos hicieron cambiar varias veces la línea de ascenso. Algunos se mofan y dicen muy sueltos: Cerros fáciles sin dificultades técnicas. La realidad es otra, en la puna uno debe primero sobrevivir y luego subir! Todo un desafío."


Peinado, photographs conceded by Marcelo Scanu






 5P From Bertrand. The southern route follows the light lava flow

 6P In eruption, NO, a cloud settles on top. View from the base camp

 7P Another view of el Peinado from the base camp

 8P The pretty cone of the Peinado volcano from Laguna Amarga






 9P Peinado and lava flow from Laguna Amarga. To the left we see the son of el Peinado, climbed in the 2008 expedition

10P Another view of el Peinado with the lava flow. There are bones of dead animals everywhere in the desert

11P The flows at the foot of el Peinado, the summit lifts its head out behind

12P Reaching the son of el Peinado 4900m with el Peinado behind, Marcelo Scanu expedition in 2008


Cerro El Cóndor 6373m | Alta Catamarca, Argentina


Map:  Carta topográfica-Hoja 2769-11 Cerro El Cóndor 1:100.000 IGM Argentino

Geographical location: To the north of the Dos Conos volcano and the Paso San Francisco

A little information: A well-organised expedition to a little climbed peak with a very pretty volcanic cone. Access by car is most likely the same as for el Cerro Peinado until Laguna Amarga. We do not know if it is possible to go higher. From Laguna Amarga, the summit is very far away, a previous study will be necessary as well as a good strategy, even if good acclimatisation has been carried out. You will set up the high camps necessary to attempt the summit, normally two, and of the two points, the main summit is the one to the south. The first three photographs are mine, and the following four by Marcelo Scanu.






 1C Cerro El Cóndor from Cerro Bertrand

2C Southern face of Cerro El Cóndor

 3C Cóndor going down San Francisco

 4C Cóndor from Laguna Amarga





 5C Another view of Cóndor from Laguna Amarga

 6C Cóndor from the mining road with curious lava formations

 7C From the base camp of el Peinado. It is possible to see the precarious mining road


Cerro El Fraile 6062m | Alta Catamarca, Argentina


Map:  Carta topográfica-Hoja 2769-23 Cerro de Incahuasi 1:100.000 IGM Argentino

Geographical location: To the west of Cerro de Incahuasi

A little information: A highly photogenic, pretty volcano. The normal route is from Puerto de Las Lozas or Fraile 5119m (Chile-Argentina frontier). The access from Chile is easy by 4x4 but is very awkward due to the customs, as it is necessary to go down to Maricunga (95km) to sort out the paperwork and then climb back up and pay a tax to the company which manages the Ojos del Salado for the climb. From Argentina we do not have these bureaucratic problems, but experience is necessary in driving 4x4's around the Southern face of Incahuasi in the best places. The main problem is the access by car, for which you will have to find information. One possibility would be to go around Laguna San Francisco, go through the pass between Incahuasi and el Morocho, and continue to the south of Nevado Incahuasi and Cerro Ojo las Lozas to try then to turn round towards the Paso de Las Lozas or Fraile. Highly adventurous terrain, 2 cars at least, experience on such terrain and tools for any unexpected problem. Once we reach the pass on foot or by car, the route is clear over lava flows until the El Fraile volcano.






1F North-east face of el Fraile

2F Cerro El Fraile

 3F North face of el Fraile after a January storm

 4F Argentine land for approaching by 4x4


Cerro de los Aparejos 4719m | Alta Catamarca, Argentina


Map:  Carta topográfica-Hoja 2769-35 Chaschuil 1:100.000 IGM Argentino

Geographical location: On the way to Pissis, near the Laguna de los Aparejos

A little information: On the approach road by 4x4 to Pissis, we can take advantage to climb some nearby peak to complete our acclimatisation if we haven't been in the area for many days. The Cerro de los Aparejos is a stroll with a difference in height of 500m perfect for this purpose. When we get to Laguna de los Aparejos by car, instead of following the track off towards Mt. Pissis, we go round it as if we wished to go to Laguna de las Tunas, and we stop where there is a passage of land between two "lagoons". The climb is clear and from the top we can see the Cerro Bonete and part of Mt. Pissis.






23 Cerro de los Aparejos


24 Laguna de los Aparejos driving towards Pissis



Cerro Negro de la Laguna Verde 5764m | Alta Catamarca, Argentina


Map:  Carta topográfica-Hoja 2769-34 Monte Pissis 1:100.000 IGM Argentino

Geographical location: Next to Laguna Verde (Laguna Negra on some maps)

A little information: When we go round to the south of Laguna Verde we divert towards the mountain and climb in the best place we see. It seems that it could be easier to the east, the difference in height is considerable (1000-1200m), and if you can't rest before the climb, it is best not to waste energy before Mt. Pissis. It promises a magnificent view of the "lagoons" and the Pissis range.






 25 Cerro Negro from Laguna Verde driving towards Pissis


 26 From the Pissis glacier



Ojos del Salado 6891m | Alta Catamarca, Argentina


Map:  Carta topográfica-Hoja 2769-29 Cazadero Grande/2769-23 Cerro de Incahuasi/2769-22 Cerro Ojos del Salado 1:100.000 IGM Argentino or part of Alpenvereinskarte 0/13 Nevado Ojos del Salado 1:100.000 (German).

Geographical location: In the Valley of Cazadero Grande, a little above the former Cortaderas customs post from the road from Fiambalá to Paso de San Francisco.

Presentation: The ascent of this magnificent mountain on the Argentinean side is a great challenge. On the Chilean side it is rather awkward because of the paperwork, because you will have to go down to Maricunga to sort out the papers to go into Chile, they will check everything and not allow you to pass with any kind of vegetable, food etc, either fresh or in an open packet.

While on the Chilean side, we start walking at 5880m, having paid and in a crowded atmosphere (which devaluates the climb a great deal), access is free on the Argentinean side, and a trek is needed for the approach in a very solitary atmosphere. I haven't got very much information, if you are interested in finding more, as this is a climb in full order. I will only say that due the toughness and length of the approach, it is done with the help of mules for carrying the load. The Ojos del Salado has two summits separated by a breach. The difference between the Chilean peak and the Argentinean is just 50cm. Not long ago, studies were performed which showed that the Ojos del Salado is the second-highest peak in America at 6891m, higher than the Pissis, with its 6792m.

The usual camps set up

1st day Quemadito 3500m (we get there by car and the day is used for loading all of the material and spreading the load over the mules)
2nd day to Aguas Calientes 4200m
3rd day to Agua de Vicuña 5000m (there is water)
4th day Base Camp at El Arenal 5500m
5th day High Camp at some 5700-5800m (next to a patch of snow for melting)
6th day Summit attempt

Good previous acclimatisation is necessary (for example at Las Grutas), and it may also be positive to combine it with a rest day. The equipment must be high mountain/expedition quality like on Mt. Pissis, and it might even be slightly colder and windier. It is also good to know that from the Arenal base camp it is possible to attempt Cerro Cazadero or Nevado Walter Penck at 6658m, a great peak (one of the 13 over 6500m in America), which has been climbed very few times up to now (1st ascent in 1970). It is also possible to climb the same area to Cerro or Volcano Olmedo at 6215m, or a little further to the south of Cerro Walter Penck, Cerro del Nacimiento 6436m.






 27 North-east face of Ojos del Salado

 28 Southeast face of Ojos del Salado

 29 Ojos del Salado from Chile (not explained)







 30 Walter Penck 6658m

 31 Walter Penck

 32 Cerro del Nacimiento 6436m

33 Cerro del Nacimiento




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