This expedition is a combination of climbing one of the highest peaks in South America with Alpenglow’s Rapid Ascent™ program to create the ideal 9 day climbing trip. It has never before been possible to safely and comfortably climb to over 22,000 feet in less 2 weeks. This has meant that many busy climbers did not have the time to attempt a high altitude peak. We completely changed that by utilizing Hypoxico‘s altitude training tents at home for 4-weeks prior to the expedition, along with unparalleled logistics in Chile perfected over decades of leading expeditions to the greater ranges of the world. This pre-acclimatization program is the same one used by all of our Everest teams since 2012, successfully shortening their climb by 50%, and increasing our safety and success.
The “Eyes of Salt”
Ojos del Salado the highest active volcano in the world, and towers over the altiplano at a breathtaking 22,615 ft. (6,893m). It’s also the second highest mountain in the southern hemisphere, falling just short of nearby Aconcagua’s by just 200 ft. Ojos del Salado is situated on the border of Chile and Argentina and the name means “Eyes of Salt” and describes the round, salt lagoons that are found on the side of the volcano. These lagoons are home to flamingos who fish for algae and krill in the salt waters. One of them, Laguna Verde, which sits at 14,400 ft. (4,400m) above sea level, is actually a thermal spring fed by the volcanic activity in the area. The crater lake at the top of the Ojos del Salado mountain has an elevation of 20,960 feet (6,390m) making it the highest lake in the world. At 22,615 ft. (6,893m), the volcano feels remote but remains easily accessible. Other peaks of similar size in Alaska and the Himalaya require weeks just to reach a basecamp but the Alpenglow climbers arrive safely and summit all in just 9 days.
The Expedition Begins at Home
The expedition to Ojos del Salado begins with an at-home routine of pre-acclimatizing for 28 days prior to day 1 of the expedition itinerary. By utilizing Hypoxico tents and following a carefully outlined schedule, you’ll be slowly increasing your oxygen efficiency at approximated altitudes up to 16,490’/5025m. Alpenglow Expeditions handles the shipping and receiving of the tent unit. All you have to do is set it up in your home and follow the prescribed schedule that we’ve created for you. For a bit of insight into how the tent works, check out this video about Rapid Ascent™ pre-acclimatization with the Hypoxico tent.
Let the Climbing Begin
Climbers meet in Chile’s capital of Santiago. After a night to settle in and meet the team, we move to a refuge high at Santa Rosa Lake. This camp provides stunning views of Ojos del Salado while we practice skills and further acclimatize. We spend the next few days moving up higher on the mountain while practicing mountaineering skills.
At this point, we are ready to climb. We wake around midnight and climb in small rope teams, each led by an Alpenglow guide. The terrain varies from hiking on trails, to small glaciers, to a final steep summit ridge. The views from the summit are stunning, encompassing many of the altiplano as well as the active crater of Ojos itself. After enjoying the summit, our descent and arrival back to Santiago is quick, in time for a celebration dinner with the team before catching flights home. If time allows, we will build in extra excursions such as – stopping by neighboring beaches to relax, while viewing penguins, and sand dunes.
Guide Ratio and Best in Class Logistics
Our Ojos del Salado Rapid Ascent™ climbs are guided by one or more of Alpenglow’s AMGA/IFMGA certified lead guides. This certification is the highest possible training available to guides, and only the most experienced and dedicated attain it. Our small team size and low ratio of climbers to guides (4:1) ensures that you stay healthy and strong, and are able to enjoy each component of your experience. This combined with our fantastic in-country logistics creates a one-of-a-kind experience for you.
Rapid Ascent™ Pre-Acclimatization
Alpenglow’s combination of pre-acclimatization at home, with the leading standards in certified guides, and in-country logistics has revolutionized Himalayan expeditions. The same system has reduced expedition length on peaks like the major peaks of the world by 30-50%. On this Chilean expedition, we utilize the same pre-acclimatization, quality of logistics, and guiding team. We work with you not only on the mountain, but also throughout your pre-acclimatization and preparation. Our goal is for each climber to be healthy, strong, and prepared for their summit climb of Ojos del Salado. Join Us.