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Nevado Ojos del Salado Climb Expedition

Climbing the highest volcano in the world. 14 days / 13 nights


The Ojos Del Salado volcano is the highest summit across Chile, the second summit in America, and it is also the tallest active volcano in the world. That’s why this is one of the most desired challenges among mountaineers around the world. Ojos Del Salado is almost as tall as Mt. Aconcagua which surpasses it by 60mts. The volcano is located in the borderline between Chile and Argentina, in the Chilean Atacama region, one of the most active mining regions in the country. Inside the Nevado de Tres Cruces National Park we can spot the Negro Francisco Lake and the Maricunga salt-flat which serves as refuge to three flamingo species. The closest city is Copiapó, where we can find everything we need to start our climbing upwards Ojos Del Salado.

You can tailor your experience starting from Santiago.


Day 1: Copiapó airport / Hotel / Our service begins (IN)

We’ll meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel where you’ll have a talk with our guide in order to crystal clear any doubt clouding your mind and to check your equipment is proper and fitted for the purposes.

  • Max altitude: 390 m / 1280 ft

  • Lodging: Hotel

  • Meals: No

  • Transport: 4WD

  • Scheme: Reception at the airport, head to the hotel, equipment checking, itinerary checking, and then you’re all free to do as you see fitted.

Day 2: Copiapó / Valle Chico

We set out towards Valle Chico to set up our first camp. This place is perfect to start our expedition because it has the ideal altitude for starting the acclimatization process.

  • Max altitude: 3040 m / 9970 ft

  • Lodging: Mountain tent

  • Meals: Breakfast Hotel, dinner.

  • Transport: 4WD

  • Scheme: Camp set-up, cooking, acclimatization.

Day 3: Valle Chico / Laguna Santa Rosa / Trekking

On this day we’ll set up the second camp around the 3700 meters in order to keep on with our acclimatization process, which is crucial to our objective. We’ll do a light trekking to keep with our acclimatization process in order to get our bodies accustomed to this high altitude desert environment. This trekking is to be done around the Laguna Santa Rosa lakeside.

  • Max altitude: 3700 m / 12140 ft

  • Lodging: Refuge or mountain

  • Meals: Breakfast, box-lunch, dinner.

  • Transport: 4WD

  • Scheme: Camp take-down and up, cooking, acclimatization.

Day 4: Climb mt 7 Hermanas (4700m)

On this day we will perform our first ascension to the 7 Hermanas hill. Altitude: 4700masl.

  • Max altitude: 4700 m / 15748 ft and back to 3700 m / 12140 ft

  • Lodging: Refuge

  • Meals: Breakfast, box-lunch, dinner.

  • Transport: 4WD

  • Scheme: Cooking, acclimatization climb.

Day 5: Laguna santa Rosa / Laguna Verde

On this day we’ll finish the first stage of our expedition. We’ll head toward Laguna Verde where we’ll set-up the base-camp, rest for the remaining day and get ready for the days to come.

  • Max altitude: 4340 m / 14240 ft

  • Lodging: Refuge or mountain tent

  • Meals: Breakfast, box-lunch, dinner

  • Transport: 4WD

  • Scheme: Transport the equipment (4WD), cooking and acclimatization.




Day 6: Laguna Verde / climb Mulas Muertas (5600m)

On this day we’ll put our bodies to the test. We'll see how your body is enduring the lack of oxygen in this area. We'll go up a bit higher than 5,600 meters and then go back to sleep at the Laguna Verde.

  • Max altitude: 5600m / 18360 ft

  • Lodging: Refuge or mountain tent

  • Meals: Breakfast, box-lunch, dinner

  • Transport: 4WD

  • Scheme: climb Mulas Muertas, cooking and acclimatization.




Day 7: Laguna Verde / San Francisco or Vickuña (6100m)

In order to go forward into our expedition, we will ascend a 6000 and so check how our body reacts when facing that kind of altitude. We can either choose between Mt. San Francisco, at the frontier with Argentina, or Mt. Vicuñas. Both are above the 6000masl.

  • Max altitude: 6100m / 20000 ft

  • Lodging: Refuge or mountain tent

  • Meals: Breakfast, box-lunch, dinner

  • Transport: 4WD

  • Scheme: acclimatization climb San Francisco, cooking.




Day 8: Laguna Verde / Refuge Atacama

This is the last day we’ll be able to use the 4WD vehicle. We’ll transport the equipment to Refuge Atacama and from there we’ll have to work harder.

  • Max altitude: 5260 m / 17260 ft

  • Lodging: Refuge or mountain tent

  • Meals: Breakfast, box-lunch, dinner.

  • Transport: 4WD

  • Scheme: Transport the equipment (4WD), cooking and acclimatization.




Day 9: Refuge Atacama / Refuge Tejos / Refuge Atacama

Each one of us has to carry his/her personal equipment plus a piece of the common equipment towards Refuge Tejos in order to prepare our last camp (high camp) and it clearly helps with the acclimatization process. Once we get to the shelter we’ll get some rest, leave our equipment there and head back to Refuge Atacama to sleep.

  • Max altitude: 5837 m / 19150 ft

  • Lodging: Refuge or mountain tent

  • Meals: Breakfast, box-lunch, dinner

  • Transport: No

  • Scheme: Carry the equipment, cooking, acclimatization.




Day 10: Refuge Atacama / Refuge Tejos

We’ll carry the remaining equipment towards Refugio Tejos. This time we’ll spend the night there. Since we’ve already carried most of the equipment the day before, we’ll be saving a lot of necessary energy for our next day, which is without doubt the most important day of our expedition.

  • Max altitude: 5837 m / 19150 ft

  • Lodging: Refuge or mountain tent

  • Meals: Breakfast, box-lunch, dinner

  • Transport: No

  • Scheme: Carry the equipment, cooking, acclimatization.




Day 11: Refuge Tejos / climb Ojos del Salado / Refuge Atacama

We’ll set out early morning to reach the Ojos Del Salado summit (6,893masl). On this day we’ll see how all of our hard work flourishes. All the previous acclimatization process is to endure this SO challenging summit. No doubts about it, this is the hardest day in our expedition. We’ll be ascending 1,000 meters, crossing a glacier, rock climbing, reaching the summit, descending, and carrying the equipment back to Refugio Atacama all in the same day.

  • Max altitude: 6893 m / 22615 ft

  • Lodging: Refuge or mountain tent

  • Meals: Breakfast, box-lunch, dinner.

  • Transport: No

  • Scheme: Carry the equipment, cooking and equipment checking.




Day 12: Extra Summit Day



Day 13: Refuge Atacama / Copiapó Hotel

This is the last day we’ll spend in the Parque Nevado de Tres Cruces area. Calmly we’ll take-down our camp and head back to Copiapó, leaving behind us this giant, the highest summit in Chile and the tallest volcano in the world.

  • Max altitude: 390 m / 1280 ft

  • Lodging: Hotel

  • Meals: Breakfast, box-lunch

  • Transport:4WD

  • Scheme: Camp take – down, transfer




Day 14: Hotel / Copiapó Airport / End of our services (OUT)

The whole group will be driven to the airport.

  • Max altitude: 390 m / 1280 ft

  • Lodging: No

  • Meals: Breakfast

  • Transport: 4WD or minivan

  • Scheme: Airport transfer (optional)




The itinerary described above is a guideline. Be aware that some changes might be done during the expedition due to weather issues. If the expedition is compromised due to a weather condition like snow storms with intense cold, or to an acclimatization difficulty from one of the members of the expedition, the chief-guide has the obligation to modify or even abort the whole expedition program if needed.

The above is for you to be aware that if something goes wrong you need to understand and (fully) cooperate with the guide, since any wrong or “too-late” decision might be fatal.

Relevant information for the Ojos del Salado expedition




Ojos del Salado is a high desert area and its temperatures oscillate abruptly from daytime to night-time, reaching temperatures as low as -20ºC (-4ºF). So, if you want to try this one, you’ve better got some good technical clothing and equipment up to the requirements.


Climbing permits


In order to climb Ojos del Salado you need two climbing permits. One you can obtain from the Dirección de Límites y Fronteras del Estado (DIFROL), which is totally free, we recommend you to start the paperwork about 20 legal days before your scheduled expedition (1 month). The second permit is U$160 which you can pay and get in Copiapó. We can help you obtain both.


Climbing season


Open season is from November 1st until March 31th. Those who want to do it out-season need a special permit, which we can help you obtain.


Areas and Camping sites across Ojos del Salado


Valle Chico: An oasis in mid Atacama desert. It is located at 3,040masl and is the perfect place to start the expedition and the acclimatization process.


Laguna Santa Rosa: This one is located at 3,170masl, and 154Km from Copiapó. Near the lake the terrain is quite hard in some places and very muddy in others. This is an important place in the park in which you can spot fox, flamingos, guanacos and vicuñas. 


Laguna del Negro Francisco: This one is also within Parque Nevado de Tres Cruces. It is a bit far from the other camp sites, but it's worthy. It is also good for trekking acclimatization. There is a refuge there provided with some basic amenities.


Laguna Verde: At 4,340masl this is quite the proper place to set up the base camp, because there are wide open places to camp and stone-refuges (pircas) which are very helpful to endure wind-storms. Plus, the hot-springs in the area are amazing.


Refugio Atacama: At 5,260masl. We usually send the 4WD with our equipment and heavy cargo to the shelter and we walk a remaining two hours road.


Refugio Tejos: This shelter is located at 5,837masl provided with bunk-beds to spend the night comfortably.


Summit: To access the small crown of Ojos del Salado we have to go across some interesting places. One of them is a 100 meters snowfield with a 35º slope. Another important one is the last one, a 30 meters rock climbing (fixed rope (5.6)) at 6,860masl.

Expedition’s schema


  • Program length: 14 days

  • Altitude: 6893 m / 22615 ft

  • Location: Copiapó, Chile  

  • Slope: 2500 m / 8200 ft  from Laguna Verde  

  • Season: November to March

  • Difficulty: This is not a technical track, but it is physically challenging. It requires crampons and ice-axe (piolet)

  • First ascent: 1937 by Justin Wojsznis and Jan Szczepanski (PL)

  •  Expedition Team size: min 2 and max. 12 climbers + guides

Open Expeditions

  • November 18th, 2018

  • December 16th, 2018

  • December 23th, 2018

  • January 27th, 2019

  • February 17th, 2019

  • February 24th, 2019

  • March 10th, 2019

  • March 24th, 2019


  • Mountain guide (Spanish / English )

  • Private transportation to climbing areas (4WD)

  • Transfer airport – hotel and hotel – airport

  • 2 hotel nights in (Copiapó)

  • Mountain tents (each one is for 2 persons)

  • Dinner tent (with table and chairs)

  • Cooking kit

  • All meals within the expedition (Breakfast, box lunch, diner)

  • Professional first aids kit

  • Mat

  • Heart rate monitor and oximeter

  • VHF Radio

  • Satellite radio

  • All group equipment; rope, high altitude tent, stove, GPS, etc.


Not included

  • Personal mountain equipment. We can rent it.

  • Traveling and rescue insurances. We strongly recommend you to get them.

  • Any other service which wasn’t mentioned above. (restaurant meals in Copiapo, beverages , tips, etc.)

  • International and national flights and boarding fees.

  • Climbing permit “from the last 5 years this payment are not required”

  • 1 guide every 3 passengers

  • Satellite phone (fees by minute usage – U$ 6/m)

  • 2 persons per hotel room.

  • U$ 200 per person if you want single room, please let us know

  • U$ 100 per person if you want single tent, please let us know

  • Hotel lodging includes *Breakfast (see itinerary)

  • Dirección de Límites y Fronteras del Estado, permit is free of charge

  • Climbing permit USD 200 per person, cancel for the moment

  • We recommend you travel with small bills

  • Weather can get as low as -25ºC /-13ºF in the area

Nave Tours is NOT responsible for:

  • Personal services (laundry, snacks, beverages, restaurant meals, tips, etc.)

  • Personal mountain equipment

  • Expenses in case of rescue or early departure from the expedition.

  • Delays caused by your flight or any transportation issue which you are responsible for.

  • Weather changes which may affect the expedition.

Clothing and proper equipment

In order to avoid any injury we strongly recommend to all the expedition members to have the mountain equipment described below. Each piece of the equipment will help us on the summit day, which may be terribly cold (even -25ºC /-13ºF). The proper equipment is crucial to achieve our goal.

Upper body parts

  • Sun hat

  • Wool hat

  • Balaclava / ski mask

  • 2 or 3 long sleeve polypropylene shirts (or similar)

  • Polar windstopper, soft-shell or similar.

  • Waterproof jacket (Gore Tex, Triple Point, or similar)

  • Down feather parka with hood

  • Polypropylene gloves

  • Waterproof gloves

  • Down feather mittens (Tº -20 or lower) 

Down body parts

  • 1 polypropylene long underwear (or similar)

  • 2 trekking pants

  • Windproof pants (Gore Tex, Triple Point, or similar)

  • 3 or 4 pairs thin socks (Liners)

  • 3 or 4 pairs of thermal socks

  • Gaiters

  • Trekking boots (approach)

  • Mountain boots (double plastic or leather boots)

Personal equipment

  • Trekking stick (telescopic)

  • Crampons

  • Ice axe

  • Helmet

  • Arness

  • 2 carabiners

  • 2 Prusik cord

  • Sleeping bag (Tº lower than -20ºC)

  • Inflatable and foam mattress

  • Expedition duffel or backpack (100 liters aprox.)

  • Daypack (40 liters aprox.)

  • Headlamp (and extra batteries)

  • Sunglasses (category 3 or 4)

  • Goggles

  • 2 bottles of water (1 liter each)

  • Thermos flask (1 liter)

  • Sunscreen (SPF 40)

  • Lips sunscreen (SPF 30) (Blistex)

  • Whistle, emergency mirror and pocket knife

  • Toiletries 

  • Digital camera, book, mp3, Binoculars. [optional]

  • Personal repair kit


Experience: This sort of expeditions, high altitude, is recommended for those with some experience in mountain climbing (at least 5,000masl) Daily exercise is recommended to reach this summit. We recommend you jogging, bicycle, or any exercise of your choice at least 2 to 3 times per week. And 1 a month climbing exercise near your home, since this will be the closest approach to the real thing. We recommend you to stop your exercise routine about 2 weeks before the Nevado Ojos del Salado expedition in order to not get here over-exercised and cause negative effects on your performance. If you can get advice from a professional or a sports-doctor, get it. Otherwise, try to get some information from training manuals ( Be aware that hydration is one of the most important factors for the process of acclimatization, so we strongly recommend you to start drinking lots of water.

Nourishment: This is another crucial point to consider when preparing yourself for the expedition. Your feeding routine is the cornerstone to your training exercises and the expedition itself. That’s why we strongly recommend you to eat food rich in carbohydrates, proteins, fibers and minerals. Remember before and after your training exercises you must hydrate yourself.  

Passport: 6 month left before expiration date and enough blank spaces for customs procedures. 

Vaccines: No vaccine is needed to enter Chile.

Water: The water is good. Still, we recommend you to drink bottled-water during your first days in Chile so your body gets used to the water here.

Money exchange: If you need to trade dollars into Chilean or Argentinean pesos, do it in official places.

Language: Chile’s and Argentina’s official language is Spanish. On regular basis, it will be hard for you to communicate with ordinary people. That’s why we recommend you to get a pocket-dictionary. Nevertheless, most people working in tourism speak fluent English.  

Electrical grid: 220[v] – 50[Hz].  You'll easily find electrical transformers in Santiago or any large city, but if you have the time, get one in you country.

Additional Information

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