Chilemontaña Blog



The local word for cowboys, the arrieros are present in the local culture of the Chilean Andes since the development of the first modern ranches by early 1800’s. In Argentina are call Gauchos and they have slightly different cultural patterns and activities.

Thanks to the arrieros we could use mules, a breed between horses and donkey, to help us to transport all the necessary gear are to the base camp. Each mule could carry as much as to 40-45kg (88-99 pounds).

To proper load a mule and managed their ride is an art in itself that if not well honed may result in a big mess of food inside the containers or even worst the loss of them in route.

In el Plomo postcard we observed Romulo, born and raised in Farellones, the local town; he has been doing this job since his early days in life mixed with winter work at the local ski hills. The header photo is of Argentinean Gauchos, performing the same mules of help Andinistas to carry their loads to and from base camp.



The Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus) is one of the rarest flamingos in the world. It lives in the Andes mountains of South America. It is closely related to James’s flamingo, and the two make up the genus Phoenicoparrus. The Chilean flamingo, Andean flamingo and James’s flamingo are all sympatric, and all live in colonies (including shared nesting areas).

The flamingo has a pale pink body with brighter upperparts, deep vinaceous-pink lower neck, breast, and wing-coverts. It is the only flamingo species with yellow legs and three-toed feet. The bill of the Andean flamingo is pale yellow and black.

These flamingos are filter-feeders and their diet ranges over the entire spectrum of available foods, from fish to invertebrates, from vascular plants to microscopic algae.

The flamingos feed from the bottom layer of the lake for small particles, mainly diatoms. They have a deep-keeled bill; the upper mandible is narrower than the lower, creating a gape on the dorsal surface of the bill. The bill morphology facilitates feeding of diatoms through inertial impaction. This mechanism entails that food particles denser than water, such as diatoms, would impact the filtering surface in the bill causing water to flow out of the mouth and leaving diatoms in the flamingo’s bill. The flamingos forage in shallow salty waters for resources. They exhibit the most flexible foraging pattern compared to that of the Chilean and James’s flamingos.


Cordillera de Los Andes description

Atacama Andes   


The etymology of the word Andes has been debated. The majority consensus is that it derives from the Quechua (the Inca’s language) word anti, which means “east” as in Antisuyu (Quechua for “east region”), one of the four regions of the Inca Empire.

The term cordillera comes from the Spanish word “cordel”, meaning “rope”.

Atacama highplateau


The Andes Cordillera can be divided into three sections:

  • The Southern Andes (south of Llullaillaco) in Argentina and Chile;
  • The Central Andes in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia
  • The Northern Andes (north of the Nudo de Pasto) in Venezuela and Colombia, which consist of three parallel ranges: the cordillera occidental, central, and oriental.

In the northern part of the Andes, the isolated Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range is often considered to be part of the Andes. The Andes range is about 200km (124mi) wide throughout its length, except in the Bolivian flexure where it is about 640km (398mi) wide.

The Andes are the longest continental mountain range in the world. They are a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about 7,000km (4,300mi) long, about 200 to 700km (120 to 430mi) wide (widest between 18° south and 20° south latitude), and of an average height of about 4,000m (13,000ft).

The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Along their length, the Andes are split into several ranges and high plateaus, which are separated by intermediate depressions.

The Altiplano plateau (southeast Peru, west Bolivia and northeast Chile) is the world’s second-highest after the Tibetan plateau.

These ranges are in turn grouped into three major divisions based on climate: The Tropical Andes, the Dry Andes (Central Chile, Argentina), and the Wet Andes (South Chile, Argentina).

The Dry Andes is a climatic and glaciological sub region of the Andes, that runs from the Atacama Desert in northern Chile and Argentina south to a latitude of 35°S in Chile. In Argentina the Dry Andes reaches 40°S due to the leeward effect of the Andes. Dry Andes can be defined after the distribution of penitentes, with the southernmost well-developed penitentes found on Lanín Volcano.

The Andes are the world’s highest mountain range outside of Asia. The highest mountain outside Asia, Mount Aconcagua, rises to an elevation of about 6.961m (22.838ft). The peak of Chimborazo in the Ecuadorean Andes is farther from the Earth’s center than any other location on the Earth’s surface, due to the equatorial bulge resulting from the Earth’s rotation. The world’s highest volcanoes are in the Andes, including Ojos del Salado on the Chile-Argentina border, which rises to 6.893m (22.615ft).

Andes Bolivia


The rise of the Andes is the result of plate tectonics processes, mainly caused by the compression of the western rim of the “South American Plate” due to the subduction of the “Nazca Plate” and the “Antarctic Plate”.

The formation of the modern Andes began with the events of the Triassic when Pangaea began to break up and several rifts developed. It continued through the Jurassic Period (200 to 145 million years). It was during the Cretaceous Period (145 to 66 million years) that the Andes began to take their present form, by the uplifting, faulting and folding of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks of the ancient cratons to the east. The rise of the Andes has not been constant and different regions have had different degrees of tectonic stress, uplift, and erosion.

Tectonic forces above the subduction zone along the entire west coast of South America where the Nazca Plate and a part of the Antarctic Plate are sliding beneath the South American Plate continue to produce an ongoing orogenic event resulting in minor to major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to this day.

The regions immediately east of the Andes experience a series of changes resulting from the Andean orogeny. The Sierras de Córdoba, where the effects of the ancient Pampean orogeny can be observed, owe their modern uplift and relief to the Andean orogeny in the Tertiary (66 to 2.5 million years). Further south in southern Patagonia the onset of the Andean orogeny caused the Magallanes Basin to evolve from being an extensional back-arc basin in the Mesozoic to being a compressional foreland basin in the Cenozoic.

Andes de la Patagonia

Nevado Ojos del Salado description


Ojos del Salado is a massive stratovolcano in the Andes on the Argentina–Chile border and the highest active volcano in the world at 6,893m (22,614ft). It is also the second highest mountain in the American continent and the highest in Chile. It is located about 600 km (370 mi) north of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere at 6,961m (22,838ft).

Due to its location near the Atacama Desert, the mountain has very dry conditions with snow usually only remaining on the peak during winter, though heavy storms can cover the surrounding area with a few feet of snow even in summer. Despite the generally dry conditions, there is a permanent crater lake about 100m (330ft) in diameter at an elevation of 6,390m (20,960ft) on the eastern side of the mountain. This is most likely the highest lake of any kind in the world.

The first ascent of Ojos del Salado was made in 1937 by Jan Alfred Szczepański and Justyn Wojsznis, members of a Polish expedition in the Andes. Ojos del Salado has two summits, one in Argentina and the other in Chile (the border between the two countries runs between the two summits). The difference in elevation of the two summits is less than 1m (3ft).

Ojos del Salado is an active volcano, with its most recent known eruption around 1300 years ago, with large error bars. However, there is also some evidence for a minor ash emission in 1993. The presence of fumaroles high on the mountain and recent-looking lava flows, albeit of uncertain age, also argues in favour of a categorization as “active.” By these definitions Ojos del Salado is the highest historically active volcano on earth.

Ojos del Salado rock is predominantly potassium-rich dacite and rhyodacite. Its lava’s are high in biotite, hornblende, plagioclase, and opaques, with lower levels of augite, quartz, and hypersthene.

Cerro El Plomo description


El Plomo is a mountain located in the Andes roughly 40km above Santiago, Chile’s capital. With an elevation of 5.434m (17.783ft), it is the largest peak visible from downtown on clear days. The adequate season to climb this mountain is between November and March. In spring (September to November), soil conditions have abundant snow on the approach. The best time is in January and March, where the approach is snow free, except for some specific areas, and the climate is more stable. The Incas climbed to its summit periodically in the 15th century. The first European ascent of the mountain was by Gustav Brandt and Rudolph Lucke in 1896.

The mountain it’s the most southern altitude ceremonial shrine site used by the Incas. The mountain achieved its fame in 1954 when a mummy of an approximately nine-year-old girl was found close to the summit. The mummy resides in the “Museo de Historia Natural” in Santiago, Chile.


El Plomo Fixed Departures Dates. Season 2016 / 2017

EL PLOMO 5.430m/17.814ft. Fixed Departures Dates Season 2016/2017

Promo Fecha Fija El Plomo

Fixed departures Dates for Season 2016/2017

Departure date Ending date
Sunday December 4, 2016 Thursday December 8, 2016
Sunday December 11, 2016 Thursday December 15, 2016
Sunday December 18, 2016 Thursday December 22, 2016
Saturday December 24, 2016 Wednesday December 28, 2016
Wednesday December 28, 2016 Sunday January 1, 2017
Sunday January 8, 2017 Thursday January 12, 2017
Sunday January 22, 2017 Thursday January 26, 2017
Sunday February 12, 2017 Thursday February 16, 2017
Sunday February 19, 2017 Thursday February 23, 2017
Sunday February 26, 2017 Thursday March 2, 2017
Sunday March 5, 2017 Thursday March 9, 2017
Sunday March 12, 2017 Thursday March 16, 2017


For more details, please contact or visit us at Plomo Fixed Dates

Ojos del Salado. Fixed Departures Dates. Season 2016 / 2017

OJOS DEL SALADO 6.893m/22.614ft. Fixed Departures Dates Season 2016/2017

Promo Fecha Fija Ojos 1d

Fixed departures Dates for Season 2016/2017

Departure date Ending date
Sunday November 20, 2016 Friday December 02, 2016
Sunday December 11, 2016 Friday December 23, 2016
Sunday December 25, 2016 Friday January 06, 2017
Sunday January 15, 2017 Friday January 27, 2017
Sunday January 29, 2017 Friday February 10, 2017
Sunday February 12, 2017 Friday February 24, 2017
Sunday March 05, 2017 Friday March 17, 2017
Sunday March 19, 2017 Friday March 31, 2017

For more details, please contact or visit us at Ojos Fixed dates

Argentina Mountaineering Expedition September 2014

Just coming back from an amazing trip through NE Argentina. Check out the beautiful pictures!

Heli Ski in The Andes, July 2014

Once again the Andes surprise us with amazing views, incredible skiing giving us the gift of open up whole new areas and ski varied new runs

Check out some images and enjoy…

Atacama Exploration Chile Bolivia, July 2014.