After climbing Sajama we thought we may as well try the fourth 6,000er in the park – Acotango. We’d heard it was an easier climb than the other three, so decided to cycle to base camp and climb it on our own.
As with Aucanquilcha, the cycle to base camp at just over 5,000m proved to be the hardest part; first we chose what turned out to be a sandy route from Lagunas to the turn-off for the mine road at about 4,300m, then the road was often steep and as we had heavy bikes with all our food and water for the climb on them we had to push quite a bit to base camp.
When we arrived there we were so tired that we decided to have a rest day, during which Harriet stayed in the tent while Neil cycle/pushed his bike up the mine road to 5,509m.
We planned on leaving for the summit at 04:00 the next morning, but when Harriet began being sick in the middle of the night we abandoned any thoughts of trying the climb. It seemed a shame though as we’d expended so much effort in getting the bikes to base camp, so when at 07:00 she began to feel better, we decided to give it a go after all.
The gradient was gentle as we climbed up sandy/rocky slopes to the east of the north ridge. Haz was going slowly and stopping regularly, but we continued on this route, joining the east ridge high up. This we followed for around 150m to the summit ridge, joining at about 6,040m.
As on our other climbs in the park the weather was perfect, so from here it was a nice 5 minute walk along the summit ridge to the summit at 6,071m. Despite Haz being ill it had only taken 4 hours from base camp – ah, the benefits of being well acclimatized!
Views from the top were superb (probably the best we’d seen in the park) – Parinacota and Pomerape along with Lago Chungara to the NW, Sajama to the NE, Huayllatiri to the SW, Laguna Macaya to the SE. We stayed a while, signed the Banco de Chile summit book, then descended quickly by the same route to camp.
|Haz on the summit of Acotango, looking into Chile|
|Parinacota and Pomerape from Acotango|
Some GPS points
|Base Camp||18.36402 S||69.02806 W||5,061m|
|Crossed 4WD track||18.36494 S||69.02905 W||5,098m|
|On climb up E side of mountain||18.36986 S||69.03330 W||5,302m|
|Met tracks coming from where jeeps drop off tours||18.37396 S||69.03613 W||5,492m|
|Still on E face of N ridge||18.38085 S||69.04118 W||5,794m|
|Joined summit ridge||18.38178 S||69.04570 W||6,041m|
|Acotango summit||18.38275 S||69.04828 W||6,071m|