This mountain is normally climbed as an acclimatization peak for Ojos del Salado which is only a few kilometres away to the west. We however climbed Volcan del Viento before Ojos, then stayed in the area and climbed Medusa after summitting Ojos.
It turned out to be the easiest 6,000er we have ever climbed from basecamp to summit, and indeed it must be one of the easiest in the world in that respect. Getting to basecamp at El Arenal is a bit of effort though, so all in all San Francisco at 6,018m just to the north is probably easier as you can can drive straight to the base of the mountain on the paved road that goes from Fiambala to Paso San Francisco.
From our basecamp behind a big boulder at El Arenal we climbed up the easy south ridge which goes directly to the summit. The climb is not sandy or on loose rock for the most part, meaning that there are very few sections where you are taking a step forward and then slipping back.
At the top there is a small crater with a tiny crater lake, and a cairn marking the summit. There are excellent views of Ojos and Muerto which are both very close, as well as of Incahuasi to the northeast. The climb took 2 hours, and the descent just over an hour, so even though we didn’t begin climbing until after 09:00, we were back in time for lunch.
Some GPS points
|El Arenal basecamp||27.14957 S||68.49919 W||5,513m|
|Medusa Summit||27.12713 S||68.48467 W||6,144m|