NEW Trip – Kyrgyzstan & the Tian Shan MountainsJoin 19 August 2024 Departure

19 Days$9290USD

  • 11 day trek/mountaineering
  • 5 nights hotel/hostel
  • 13 nights camping/hut
  • 16 Dinners
  • 16 Lunches
  • 18 Breakfasts
Intermediate Mountaineering Expedition
Technical Grading: Intermediate

Trip highlights

  • Ascend the world's highest active volcano, Ojos del Salado
  • Explore the Atacama Desert and trek in the Valley of the Moon
  • Experience the breathtaking Laguna Verde, an emerald-green lake in a desert landscape dominated by high volcanoes
  • Ascent of Cerro Soquete Soquete and Nevado de San Francisco
  • Enjoy the coastal landscape of the Pan de Azúcar National Park
  • Climb one of the Volcanic Seven Summits
  • Learn from the peerless Lydia Bradey
  • Carefully considered itinerary with ample acclimatisation and weather contingency days

Take in the best of Chile's dramatic and varied scenery, and ascend the world's highest active volcano, Ojos del Salado, on this magnificent mountaineering trip. From the Atacama Desert our trek begins at the delightful "frontier" oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama and we trek into the Valley of the Moon at sunset. Soak in the thermal waters of the Tatio geysers and take in this remarkable landscape dotted with volcanoes. Journey by road to the National Park Pan de Azúcar on the Pacific coast, before continuing to the Altiplano again and ascending Nevado de San Francisco volcano. Well acclimatised we take on our objective, climbing the highest active volcano on earth and ascend Ojos del Salado (6893m).

Trip Code: OLB

Arrival in Santiago and transfer to our comfortable downtown hotel. Depending on your flight arrival time, there may be free time to explore the historic center of Chile's capital. Evening at leisure. Overnight: Hotel

Meals:  Nil

This morning we fly from Santiago to Calama where we will transfer to San Pedro de Atacama, 120kms from the airport and directly through the Atacama Desert. Set at the northern end of Salar de Atacama (salt lake), this delightful oasis town has a “frontier” ambiance. It is not far from the Bolivian and Argentinian borders in the midst of the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert and on the high altiplano. Following lunch in town we drive out to the Salty Mountain Range, where we warm up our legs with a good few hours trek, ending in the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) at sunset. Here the glow of the desert and the amazing colours produce an incredible sunset. We return to the town and our hotel. Dinner at a local restaurant. (Approx. 3- hours trek, 2440m and drive 4 hours)

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we visit Quitor, a 12th-century fortress overlooking the oasis and volcanoes. In the afternoon we begin our acclimatisation trek along a beautiful canyon, which leads us to San Bartolo. We are transferred to Catarpe before starting our trek on an open plain which little by little narrows down into a river canyon framed by impressive volcanic rocks. We follow the river all the way to Rio Salado. On arrival we set up our first camp. (Approx 4-6 hours trek, 2700m)

Meals:  B,L,D

Today is a full day trek to Rio Grande, a typical village located in a deep canyon. Our trek follows the river. Settlements in “terrazas” and small animal parks announce our arrival at El Poblado where we set camp. (Approx. 7-8 hour trek, 3200m)

Meals:  B,L,D

Today the desert gives way to an Altiplano landscape with a short carpet of yellow grass. Our trek takes us to the pretty village of Vega Hermosa where we set up camp among llamas and alpacas. (Approx. 6-7 hour trek, 4000m)

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we will enjoy an early morning visit to the nearby lagoon renowned for the wide variety of birds that frequent it. Today’s trekking takes us up the Altiplano to Machuca village, a small settlement with its lovely church and lamas and flamingoes. We follow the canyon upwards gradually ascending onto the high plateau. We pass shelters which local people use to stay with their animals. Once we reach the village of Machuca, we meet our vehicles and transfer to Tatio Geothermal field where we set up camp for the evening. (Approx. 4-6 hour trek, 4500m and drive approx 45mins/4300m)

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we attempt our first acclimatisation summit on Cerro Soquete Soquete. We will drive as high as possible, then make an easy ascent of the volcano which dominates the whole region before descending and returning to our camp. (Approx. 8 hour trek, 4300m)

Meals:  B,L,D

The optimal time to visit Tatio geysers is early morning when the geysers are at their steaming best. Located next to the Bolivian border, at an altitude of 4200m, the geysers reach up to 4 meters high in the early morning. The thermal waters near to the glaciers offer a chance to soak our bodies whilst viewing dawn breaking in this most remarkable landscapes dotted with volcanoes. After witnessing this phenomena we have a late breakfast and return to San Pedro. From here we may attempt to summit Cerro Toco. We will overnight in San Pedro in a small local lodge.

Meals:  B,L,D

Transfer to Lagunas Miscanti and Miñiques (2500m) where it is possible to view the high Andean Flamingos which breed here, Tagua Cornuda, Andean Caití and White Gull. We then climb up to the Altiplano to the village of Socaire, set in terraced fields, before arriving at the Miñiques and Miscanti lagoons. At over 4,000 metres, these superbly coloured lakes, surrounded by volcanoes, form a picture of exceptional harmony. Descent to the Atacama Salar, then return to San Pedro where we overnight at our small local lodge.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we cross the Altiplano and on to the coastal desert. Morning crossing of the Altiplano, then on to the coastal desert to arrive Copiapo.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we climb back up to the Altiplano via an impressive valley wedged between cliffs, gradually giving way to steep, colourful slopes, ranging from gray to red and all shades of ochre - a feast for the eyes! We continue on to Laguna Verde. On the way we discover, for the first time, our objective Ojos del Salado, towering above the Altiplano, surrounded by numerous lower-altitude volcanoes. The arrival at Laguna Verde is breathtaking: an emerald-green lake in a desert landscape dominated by high volcanoes, one of the most beautiful sites in the entire Andes. There will time to swim in the hot springs on the lake's edge. We set up camp here at 4350m.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will do another acclimatisation hike on Nevado de San Francisco. The extinct strata-volcano straddles the border of Argentina and Chile. We will drive to the trailhead in 4x4 vehicles (approx 4900m) and then begin our ascent which should take approx 4-5 hours. After taking in the spectacular views from the summit we begin our descent to camp. (Ascent 1100m / total walking time approx 6-7hrs)

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we drive to Camp 1. To help with our acclimatisation we will cover the last part of the route on foot carrying only a light backpack (vehicles with take up the rest of our luggage). Overnight in tents or in a hut (sleeping six) at 5,250 m.

Meals:  B,L,D

Ascent to camp 2, Tejos refuge (5750m). (Approx. 3 hour trek, 5750m)

Meals:  B,L,D

Today, fit and acclimatised, we set out on our ascent of Ojos del Salado (6893m). Whilst non technical for the majority of the route, we can expect a long day, with 1,150 meters of ascent, on a névé (if the winter has been harsh. It can snow anytime here) or negotiating scree in the absence of snow. The last 50 metres of ascent can be a little trickier and is graded at UIAA II, at almost 6900m this can prove challenging and ropes will be fixed to help navigate this section. As Ojos is an ancient volcano, the final section takes place on the solidified chimney that once evacuated lava. We can expect loose rock, more scree and often windy conditions given the peaks exposure. We will return back to Atacama refuge for the evening (Approx. 10 hour climb, 5250m).

Meals:  B,L,D

Today has been put aside as a contingency day in case of bad weather. The use of this day will be decided by your leader and will depend on conditions, with the best possible weather window for the ascent chosen.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we make the long drive back to the Pacific Coast. Overnight in Caldera at a small hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

Depending on flight timing, we may enjoy some free time on the beach until our transfer to Copiapó airport for the flight to Santiago. On arrival we will transfer to hotel with the rest of the day free in Chile's capital. Overnight: Hotel

Meals:  B

Our trip concludes after breakfast in Santiago. Depending on your flight time a transfer to the airport may be arranged.

Meals:  B


  • 18 breakfasts, 16 lunches and 16 dinners
  • good quality hotel, camps and refuges
  • experienced mountain guide
  • sleeping bags and mats
  • group camping equipment - including tents, dining and cooking equipment
  • safety equipment - including satellite phone, first aid kit, emergency oxygen and altitude chamber
  • private vehicle transport
  • sightseeing, excursions and entrance fees as listed

  • International flights and departure taxes
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, alcohol etc
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Optional visits/excursions
  • Personal mountaineering clothing and equipment not mentioned in the included section
  • Internal flights Santiago to Calama and Copiapo to Santiago

About Your Leader

Lydia Bradey in the Indian Himalaya with Kun in the distance&#160;-&#160;<i>Photo:&#160;Dean Staples</i>

Lydia Bradey is a passionate mountaineer, an IFMGA International Mountain & Ski Guide and the first woman in the world to climb Mt Everest without supplementary oxygen (1988). She has climbed ten 8000m peaks including six ascents of Everest, successfully guiding Everest five times, and has been on more than 35 expeditions over 6000m. Her specialty is high altitude, remote and extreme environment climbing and guiding around the world. In the 2020 New Years Honours (NZ) Lydia was awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to mountaineering. Lydia enjoys sharing stories and her personal journey of overcoming insecurity, fear and discomfort to achieve outstanding successes and personal satisfaction. A focus on owning one’s own decisions and applying grit and resilience permeates her approach and she shares her stories with lively humour. Often asked why she climbs mountains, Lydia states that it is the sophistication of nature, the contrasting simplicity of life and yet consequential decision-making in wild environments, and the sharing of these experiences with other people that attracts her to the mountains. Lydia is excited to be climbing in the Atacama with World Expeditions in 2024.

Departure dates


Internal flights are not included in the trip cost. Please ask us for flight details and costs.

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Options & Supplements*
  • Single Supplement - Hotel and tent only, not in refugios or homestaysUSD$680
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Ojos del Salado Volcano (6893m) with Lydia Bradey trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.

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