Between November and March. In spring the approach to the Plomoīs base will have plenty of snow. The best time is between January and March, when there is no snow during the approach and the weather is more stable.
Via Valle Nevado
Going up Av. Las Condes, take the road to Farellones. At the end of the curves and just before reaching Farellones (it is 48 kms. up to here), turn right towards the Valle Nevado Ski Center. From the ski center, and after obtaining permission to pass through its land, take the dirt road that will get you through the ski runs and closest to Cerro Tres Puntas, East of the area called Tierras Bayas (3.450 mts). This is where the approach by foot starts. The trail is very wide and clear and descends quickly into the ravine ahead. In total, from the beginning of the road to Farellones up to Tres Puntas, it is more or less 2 hours by car. From Tres Puntas to the first campsite, Piedra Numerada, it takes between 1 and 2 hours walking. Piedra Numerada is at 3.370 meters above sea level.
Via La Parva
Taking the same road to Farellones, continue past Farellones (do not turn right at the turn to Valle Nevado) to the La Parva Ski Center. Continue, if possible, to the ski centerīs highest point, depending on whether the road up the ski runs is open and clear of snow (ask local workers to show the way). Via this road you will reach the end of the last lift, called Piuquenes, right next to the pass between Cerros Franciscano and Falsa Parva. From the beginning of the road to Farellones up to Piuquenes, it takes between one hour and one hour and a half by car. From Piuquenes to Piedra Numerada, it takes between two and two and a half hours walking. If the road up the ski runs isnīt open, consider 2 or 3 hours of heavy hiking from the ski center to the pass (if there is no snow), which is at 3.470 meters above sea level.
Piedra Numerada (3.370m) is the obvious place for sleeping the first night. See Foto2 . In the middle of a great vega (plain covered with high altitude vegetation and with abundant water), right next to the Cepo River, Piedra Numerada was used years before by the arrieros to count the animals before taking them down to the valley just before winter arrived. It is a spacious place, with plenty of water and lots of room for setting up camp. Some boulders and stone parapets are a reference point. Beware of mice: do not leave food or garbage at their reach.
If the time necessary is available it is recommended to sleep here to acclimatize.
From Piedra Numerada the approach follows on to La Hoya. The trail from Piedra Numerada to La Hoya follows the stream most of the time and it passes by the right the waterfall visible from Piedra Numerada. In more or less 4 hours, La Hoya should be reached, though this will depend greatly on the physical conditions and acclimatization of each climber See Foto3 . La Hoya is reached just after going up a grey mound that is visible from an orange shelter (Refugio Federación, houses 4 people comfortably) located at a side of the trail which heads in Plomoīs direction. The site of the orange shelter is an alternative campsite. A better rest (with less "puna") can be obtained here, which may compensate the extra effort during the summit day. This place is at approximately 4100 mts. Have in mind that sleeping here will mean an extra hour during the summit bid.
From the camp, go around the moraine which ends at La Hoya. This is done by ascending along the slope which rises from La Hoya on its right side. When the glacierīs conditions are clear enough (no penitentes), climb on the glacier. Towards the seasonīs end this will have hard ice, with no snow until its upper part. While advancing straight up, the glacierīs gradient increases up to an inclination of 45-50 degrees. See Foto3 . It doesnīt have open crevasses, at most some little slots that may be overcome easily (a
second ice axe might help if one has little experience.) At 4700 mts. there is a small rock patch on which to rest. Always straight up, the inclination starts decreasing when nearing 5000m and at 5100m one joins the normal route. See Foto4 . Here turn left and head straight for the summit.
The summit day is pretty tiring, especially for the calves, since there is a lot of kicking on hard ice. Towards the seasonīs beginning there may be some snow that could make the route less tiring. From La Hoya to the summit it should take between 5 and 8 hrs. The descent is along the normal route.
|Schedule 1||Schedule 2|