Volcan Licancabur (5900 m)
|Volcan Licancabur (22º50'S 67º50'W) is located
30 km east of the village of San Pedro de Atacama.
How to get there : Driving (no 4WD required, you can also hitchhike) 35 km from San Pedro east towards Bolivia and Paso Jama (Argentina), after a long and slow ascent towards 4000 m.a.s.l. and before the roads fork, take a left from the main road and start walking or driving (if you find a road, watch for mines)north towards the volcano (Almost from where the picture was taken). Try to get as close as possible to the base of Licancabur, where camping is still possible, to go for the summit. It is recommendable to do this in two days, but not necessary if you are well acclimatized.
Food, water & campsites :As in most Chile there are no campsites, nor huts, so camping is possible everywhere in the desert.
Water is possibly found, specially in summer and maybe also winter (depending on the snowfall). San Pedro is the only resource for food and more detailed info. There is a continuous traffic on the road to Argentina, where you can get help if required.
|Regulations :There is no need for a local guide, nor for a permit from the park service CONAF or a fee. But foreigners are required to get a permit from the Service of Borders and Frontiers (www.difrol.cl). You should check in at the police in San Pedro, but they will ask you for the permit. Don't ever try to bribe in Chile though, you can get in serious trouble.|
||The climb : As many volcanoes, the climb is straightforward,
with no need of ropes, but both piolet (ice-axes) and depending on the
amount of snow crampons are strongly recommended, but probably not necesssary.
The climb for the summit should start at around 4700 m. On the summit
there is a crater lake, usually frozen, and some inca ruines.
Season : Winter is a very cold, but stable season. You can expect clear skies every day. In summer (Dec-Mar) you might get into some tropical thunderstorms, which have been weaker in the past years, but expect heavy but short rainfall and wind due to El Niño effects. Still the air is extremely dry. Temp. can fall as low as -30ºC.