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In Argentina’s North, among deserts and salt fields, the highest volcanoes in the world. Adventure at a step from Heaven.

The west of Catamarca province presents one of the regions with the highest peaks of the Andean Range. About twenty peaks surpass the 6,000 meters (19,700 feet) and they are an irresistible destination for climbers all over the world. The “Seismiles” (=”six-thousands”) invite to an adventure that goes beyond sport. Step by step, the spirit goes into raptures, intoxicated by the landscape magnificence, with its naked mounts and high flatlands where climbers, finally, feel “in heaven”.

One of the favorite regions features Pissis, Ojos del Salado, Walter Penck and Incahuasi volcanoes and Tres Cruces, Nacimientos and San Francisco mounts. Expeditions depart, in all cases, from Fiambalá town, known as the “Door to the Seismiles” where travelers shall find all necessary infrastructure and services. Once the adventure has started, some groups use Las Grutas shelter to get accustomed to altitude before climbing.

IMPORTANT: The best time to climb the Seismiles is between October and April. Depending on the peak chosen, climbers should be prepared to face intense winds and temperatures close to -4° F, to walk on ice fields and climb walls of diverse difficulty levels.

 

At 22,615 f.a.s.l., Ojos del Salado is the highest volcano in the world and the second highest peak in America after the Aconcagua. It is climbers’ favorite due to its access difficulty from the Argentine side. In the limit of Catamarca with the province of La Rioja, Pissis volcano offers five peaks for its climbing: the main one at 22,579 f.a.s.l. The most accessible peak is San Francisco, with an altitude of 19,948 f.a.s.l. and close to the international route in the border with Chile. Something similar happens with the Incahuasi, at 21,778 f.a.s.l.

Other remarkable peaks are Cerro Tres Cruces (22,142 f.a.s.l.), Walter Penck (21,844 f.a.s.l.) and Nacimientos (21,125 f.a.s.l.); towards the North –between San Buenaventura mountains and Hombre Muerto salt fields- there are other imposing peaks like Cerro Cóndor (21,096 f.a.s.l.) and Antofalla (21,129 f.a.s.l.), among others. This adventure requires various days of intense trekking to get to the mountains’ feet and time to get used to environmental conditions.

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