Climbing Tupungato

7:14 p.m. on February 3, 2013 (EST)
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Hi Guys,  I'm looking to climb Tupungato this Dec (2013).  I would love any tips, advice ,info on the climb, permits, mule rentals, etc.   I want to plan and guide myself without hiring a guide service.



9:09 p.m. on February 3, 2013 (EST)
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Welcome to Trailspace, Mindy.

Aside from its location a hundred miles south of Aconcagua, right on the Chile-Argentina border, and the 1947 plane crash that emerged from the glacier in 2000, I do not know a lot about the mountain. Given what I know about its location and the general area, I suspect the approach is easier from the Santiago side than from Mendoza on the Argentinian side. John Biggar's climbing guide to the Andes has about as much information as you are likely to find in print. He gives it a rating of "F" ("facile" = easy). Because there is an electric generation plant on the Chile side approach, you will have to get a permit from the Chilean Army and the Gener electricity company (at Miraflores 222 in Santiago). Biggar reports that permission was difficult to obtain in 1999. There are places to find mules on the way in. Biggar reports some major river crossings (the east side approach has even bigger river crossings).

Be aware that, due to climate change, a lot of approaches and climbs in the Andes that used to have easy walks over glacier approaches have become more difficult with the exposure of rotten rock and having to scramble up loose scree slopes. Like other mountains in that part of the Andes, Cerro Tupungato is a volcano (dormant), so you will have to ascend slopes of volcanic ash (Tupangatito is an active volcano a bit to the south of Tupangato).

Be aware that maps of the area are small scale (1:250,000) and somewhat difficult to get ahold of. The map from the Chilean geographic office that covers the area is ChIGM sheet 3300-6900 "San Jose de Maipo" (the peak is at 33°21'S 69°46'W, hence the map designation 3300-6900). You might be able to get the map from Omni Resources . I think they list this sheet as 64-3950SI1906 Sheet SI-19-06. San Jose de Maipo (Santiago East), at $29.95. The Google Earth imagery of the area is pretty poor.

Good luck, and be careful, on your expedition.

12:36 a.m. on February 4, 2013 (EST)
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I noted on a trek to Peru I participated in a few years ago that many of the bridges crossing major rivers in the mountain districts were washed out by historical rains that have hit the area years back.  They have erected temporary military bridges - which have been in place ever since - along tourist routes and to provide access to villages with significant populations, but bridge crossings to more remote sectors were not replaced. I imagine this may be the case where you are intending to venture too.  I would also advise the approaches to the high mountains are both long and arduous.  You may not need a guide on the mountain itself, but the logistics of just getting to the mountain make a guide (mule driver) worth hiring. 

I noted you intend to climb in December; I have climbed a few times in Peru in areas where that was considered the middle of the rainy season.  You will want to confirm the seasonal conditions for your trip are amiable for your objective.

You will love the Quechua; they are a gentle and kind society.  


April 8, 2020
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