Nevado Ojos del Salado

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Ojos del Salado
View from the Argentine to the Chilean summit

View from the Argentine to the Chilean summit

height 6893  m
location Atacama Desert , Argentina / Chile
Mountains To the
Dominance 630 km →  Aconcagua
Notch height 3688 m ↓  Paso de las Cuevas
Coordinates 27 ° 6 ′ 33 ″  S , 68 ° 32 ′ 30 ″  W Coordinates: 27 ° 6 ′ 33 ″  S , 68 ° 32 ′ 30 ″  W
Nevado Ojos del Salado (Catamarca)
Nevado Ojos del Salado
Type dormant stratovolcano
rock Andesite , dacite , rhyolite
Last eruption 700 ± 300 years
First ascent February 26, 1937 Justyn Wojsznis and Jan Szczepanski
Normal way Alpine tour
particularities Highest volcano on earth; Second highest mountain in America

The Ojos del Salado is with a height of 6,893  m the highest active volcano on earth , the highest peak in Chile and after the Aconcagua ( 6,961  m ) the second highest peak in South America , which makes it one of the Seven Second Summits .


Ascent to Ojos del Salado

According to some measurements in 1956, the Ojos should be 100 m higher than the Aconcagua (6961 m) and thus the highest mountain in America. However, recent GPS- based measurements could not confirm this. According to a measurement from 1994, which showed a height of 6,882  m for Monte Pissis , the Ojos del Salado should no longer be the highest volcano on earth and only the third highest mountain in America. However, this measurement also turned out to be an error in the following years. During a French-Chilean expedition in 2007 a height of 6,893 m for the Ojos and a height of 6,792 m for the Monte Pissis was measured and officially confirmed by Chile.


It gets its name from the extensive salt deposits that can be seen as lagoons or "eyes" in its glaciers. The Ojos des Salado is located on the edge of the Atacama Desert in a volcanic mountain range that is crossed by the Chilean-Argentine border. It consists of many bumps and several craters. The two highest high points are traversed exactly by the border, which divides the mountain into a Chilean and an Argentine peak.

The Ojos is a typical example of a stratovolcano . Again and again, gas activities or temporary emissions of sulfur-containing water vapor could be documented, which suggests that the volcano is still a little active sporadically. The last time there were reports of gas and ash emissions were in 1993, but these remained unconfirmed. Since no explosive eruptions have been documented for 1300 years, the volcano is now considered calm. In its wide and open crater, one can spot fumaroles , post-volcanic phenomena that indicate decaying volcanism.


Refúgio Tejos

The terrain around and on the Ojos is rocky, covered with glacier and penitent ice , but comparatively easily accessible due to the low snowfall and drought, which makes it very popular for experienced mountaineers from all over the world. It is possible to climb it from both the Chilean and Argentine sides. In winter it is difficult to climb because of the weather conditions, although it is only covered with snow at the top. In summer, between October and March, the maximum temperature is 17 ° C, but the minimum is as low as −20 ° C. The climate is changeable and any rain or snow showers are unpredictable, and there is a strong wind with a speed of up to 100 km / h.

On the way to the summit there are base and high camps on the Chilean side, but not on the Argentine side, which is why mountaineers prefer the Chilean side. The first base camp, Laguna Verde, is 4,300 meters above sea level, while Refúgio Claudio Lucero is 4500 meters above sea level. The first high altitude camp, called Atacama, is located at 5300 meters above sea level. The Refúgio Universidad de Atacama is at 5620 meters and the high altitude camp Refúgio Tejos is at 5825 meters. With appropriate weather conditions, the base camp Laguna Verde can be easily reached by vehicles.


Traces of sacrificial sites have been found on the top of the Ojo. It is believed that Incas used the summit for ritual sacrifices. Today, however, nothing of that can be seen. At the foot of the Ojos del Salado there is a sculpture in memory of the 2010 tsunami victims, donated by Jochen Beyer.

Expeditions to Ojos del Salado

The first ascent was undertaken by the Polish mountaineers Jan Szczepanski and Justin Wojszins on February 26, 1937 as part of a Polish expedition to the Andes, during which they also achieved the first ascent on the Pissis and the Tres Cruces. Since the early 1950s, Tucuman mountaineers tried to follow in the footsteps of the Poles and thus reach the summit. After all, it was Austrian Mathias Rebitsch who climbed the summit in second place on February 2, 1956. However, reaching the summit for the third time provoked disputes. While the Austrian Mathias Rebitsch was still on the steep mountain slopes during his descent, a Chilean military commission led by Gajardo reached a summit on February 5, 1956, coming from a valley in the north. Gajardo declared their ascent the first, as he could not find any signs of the Poles or the Austrian on the summit. These were located on a different high point of the mountain, which at the time was declared its summit. In addition, they measured a height of 7084 m, which caused additional confusion regarding the official first ascent. Thereupon the Chilean Andean Club tried to relativize the claims of the military, explicitly declared the rise of the Poles as the first and ordered further measurements of the high points of the Ojo. The American Alpine Club then carried out an expedition and measured a height of 6,893 m using developed technology, which is still relevant today.

World records at Ojos del Salado

The Ojos del Salado is easy to climb compared to other 6000m peaks. The summit is usually only covered by snow in winter, so that climbing with ice ax is usually not necessary. It is therefore advisable not only to climb it, but also to drive it. The Ojos del Salado has already been the scene of world altitude records several times: on February 20, 2005, an extreme events team headed by Matthias Jeschke set a world record of 6010 meters above sea level with a Toyota Land Cruiser 90 V6.

Suzuki Samurai in 2007 at an altitude of 6651 m

This was followed by 4 more altitude world records from an extreme event team and a VW team (extreme events 6010 m on February 20, 2005, VW team 6,081 m on February 17, 2005, extreme events 6358 m on March 2, 2005, extreme events 6646 m on March 13, 2007), until on April 21, 2007 the Chilean duo of Gonzalo Bravo and Eduardo Canales reached a height of 6688 meters above sea level with a modified Suzuki Samurai and set the current world record for all-wheel drive vehicles.

André Hauschke from Euskirchen rode a bike in a multi-day trip from the Pacific without pushing up to an altitude of 6085  m and thus reached the world record for cycling on April 1, 2010. The previous record of 5840  m was held by an Italian for many years.

On October 16, 2014, Guido Kunze from Mühlhausen / Thuringia set a new world altitude record with his bike. At the Ojos des Salado he rode his fat bike from the Pacific coast up to 6,233 meters.

See also


Web links

Commons : Ojos del Salado  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Report of an Ojos del Salado ascent. Retrieved February 2, 2020 .
  2. ZDF Mittagsmagazin July 1, 2010 youtube video
  3. Magazine Bergsteiger November 7, 2014 [1]