Peak(s):  Ojos Del Salado - 22600
Date Posted:  12/19/2016
Modified:  06/22/2018
Date Climbed:   12/17/2016
Author:  mikefromcraig
 Ojos in under 96 hours   

just a brief summary:

I hate base camps. I can think of a million things I�d rather do than spend time sitting around in one.

That mindset lead to two mistakes on my Ojos trip:

1. Signing up for the only guide service that offers an 8 day package (25% success rate) when all the others are 12 days.

2. Deciding that, since this is going to be the highest summit of my life, I needed to make it special and, while bored to death at basecamp, decided to try and summit in less than 96 hours from when I arrived at the first camp: 12,500� Santa Rosa.

NOTE: My guide service was adventurismo. I did the private service which was well worth a little extra money. My guide was Mario. I was impressed when I found out he had summitted over 15 times and even more impressed when I found out I misunderstood and he had summitted over 50 times! I had other guides telling me I had the best guide for the mountain! His English was not the best but compared to the prices of the English speaking guides it was a no-brainer.

Day 1: Arrived at Santa Rosa around 3pm December 13th. They were finishing up building a nice refugio with running water but it is going to cost $100 US a night and it�s a bunkhouse. Seems a little steep. The older refugio that I got to use as part of my guide package had an indoor toilette but no running water. Well, you had to fill up a bucket with water before using it and then pour the water in afterwards to wash down your waste. I honestly thought I was misunderstanding them when they explained it to me. I thought pouring water on top of a turd in a broken toilet would just leave you with a more full toilette with a turd on the bottom but sure enough, it caused it to flush down!

Santa Rosa has a nice lake with lots of flamingos. I also saw some large foxes walking around at night.

Day 2: At Santa Rosa a lot of the groups would climb up a close mountain (I think around 15,000�) but I thought it much smarter to drive a couple miles away to a pass at about 13,500�and climb up from there. I think some people confuse acclimatizing for getting in shape. By the time you get to camp it�s too late to try and get in shape, you just need to acclimatize.

We then drove to Laguna Verde at 14,500�. Although higher, this place was a little warmer at night on average than Santa Rosa. Also drier.

Day 3: drive to Atacama refugio at 17,000�and then hike to Trejos refugio at 19,000� then back to Atacama then spend the night at Atacama. Again, most groups were doing fairly strenuous hikes from Laguna Verde. They would come back all exhausted. I�m biased but really think my way is superior. Your goal is to get high and acclimatize, not hike far or hard. On some mountains there�s no difference between the two options but on Ojos there is.

The hike from Atacama to Trejos was very easy. I thought we were taking it slow but we made it in 1:45 which is fast based on the reports I�ve read. Again, we just wanted to get higher, not to exert ourselves more than necessary (it was impossible to drive higher than Atacama while I was there). There was a couple at Tejos when we went up there who had been there two days and planning on summitting the next day (bad idea!))

Day 4: stay at Atacama until after lunch (we were the only ones there the whole time!) then drive back down to Laguna Verde and spend the night there.

Day 5: Eat breakfast at 4AM, then drive up to Atacama and start by 6:15. I was feeling great until about 20,000�. We made the summit in just under 8 hours total which is slightly above average based on starting at Atacama. This totally blew my mind based on how slow I was going above 20k.

I would strongly discourage anyone from trying the sub 96 hour plan but my comments on acclimatization should be considered.

This Chillean keyboard is driving me crazy!!!I�ll put up the pictures when I get back into the states. I�m going to go ahead and post this and update it later.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4

Comments or Questions

12/21/2016 22:00
I look forward to the updates. I assume some of the pictures are upside down because you're in the Southern Hemisphere?


Atacama and route info
12/28/2016 10:33
Any chance you have a GPS trail for getting to Atacama and your summit route?

thanks for the write up


12/28/2016 12:29
I didn't bring my GPS since I had a guide.

Getting to Atacama is easy. There are road signs leading you there. From Atacama to Tejas is also easy with signs.

There is a good map available on amazon that shows the entire route and also has a lot of the other mountains in the area:

Scott P

12/28/2016 13:05
So, what was your consensus on the summit pitch difficulty? Any photos of that part?

Also, how was the wind?

Did you need crampons?


summit rating
01/09/2017 15:09
If that pitch at the top is 5.7 then I'm a 5.14 climber (I'm not).

I'd pretty much agree with what all the other trip reports say: it's class 4.

My guide (most experienced guide on the mountain) said that more than half of his clients don't rope up. I went ahead and tied in because I was really feeling the altitude and I had a private guide and the rope was right there so why not. I just tied the rope around my torso under my armpits figuring it would be unlikely I would fall on it (I didn't).

Wind wasn't that bad at all compared to some winter 14ers I've done. It was strong on the summit but I never got knocked down.

I only brought microspikes as the guide told me that's all that would be needed but I never put them on. There were a couple of traverses where the snow was fairly firm. If I was breaking trail on those parts I would absolutely have put my microspikes on but since I wasn't I didn't. I probably should have though because it would have been a long slide down if I had a misstep (I was using my poles but no ice axe). So, just bring microspikes.

Scott P

01/18/2017 17:18
Awesome. It is good that the wind wasn't too bad for you. It was pretty bad for us (enough so that standing was really difficult).

Out of curiosity, what were your impressions of the mountain? I found it to rank low on the "enjoyment" scale, but obviously others have different taste.

What's next for you?


enjoyment scale
01/15/2017 15:09
I never enjoyed a mountain that I didn't succeed at summitting.

I set out to get a new personal altitude record without spending weeks doing so. That's why I chose Ojos. I accomplished that goal so I enjoyed the mountain immensely.

Pictures of the mountain show it's clearly not in the running for the most aesthetically pleasing. But my goal had nothing to do with aesthetics.

As for what's next, I'll try to make some headway on the winter 14ers this winter and do some ascent races this summer. It's extremely unlikely I'll ever go any higher than Ojos. I probably won't even go out of the country to climb again. This might be heretical to say on here but there's just too many amazing day trips in Colorado and too many other things I could be doing with the other days (and with my money).

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