Between October and March. Best of all are the summer months, since in spring the already changing weather is specially unstable in this mountain, whose summit, owing to its predominant height, usually covers up in clouds before the rest of its neighbors.
From Santiago, take the road which takes to Cajón del Maipo. Once past the police post at San Gabriel (at the end of the paved road), follow on to Baños Morales, located on the northern side of the El Volcán River. From Baños Morales, keep going on along the road which leaves the village towards the East along the norhtern side of the river. This road winds over the southern slopes of Punta Ventana and finally turns North and enters the beautiful valley of the Morado River. Here the road levels and after crossing a couple of streams, it is possible to reach the end of it, depending on the road´s state (it may be blocked with snow or boulders) and on the vehicle (a 4x4 is best, though not a must).
From Baños Morales or wherever one is able to get by vehicle, it is a long walk to the Loma Larga Glacier´s moraine. During the hike, Cerro Arenas is left behind to our right, and cerros Unión, Mirador del Morado and Morado to our left. The first bivouac is done near the base of the route. It is here, at the beginning of the route that the first difficulties are encountered, in the form of an ice fall, See Foto1 (4000m aprox.)
At the foot of the Ice Fall (See Foto2 ), it is possible to overcome the first seracs by a short (20 feet) climb on excellent ice. Climbing the Ice Fall will take 3 pitches among ice blocks and crevasses. This section, although not too exposed, is very tiring. Once on top of the Ice Fall, one reaches another obstacle called la Trampa (the Trap), which corresponds to the bergschrund between the Ice Fall and the upper slopes. The second bivy is donde here, just before la Trampa. La trampa (See Foto3 ) is an enormous crevasse some 50 meters wide. The bottom of the crevasse (visible bottom) is covered with piled ice blocks that have fallen inside. These ice blocks form a natural bridge which allow to cross the crevasse. At the moment of the author of this description´s ascent, the ice blocks were more stable to the right; this may change every season.
The route goes on up a penitente field (depending on the season and on how advenced it is, there may or not be penitentes), which doesn´t require technical climbing. After overcoming a few more crevasses, an ice wall called el Cerrojo (the Lock) is reached. El Cerrojo can be avoided by the right, passing right beneath it. This obstacle is overcome easily. The penitente field is 350m long. Following a soft slope to the right, the route starts to steepen until reaching a bergschrund, which is overcome with a simple rope pitch. From this point an ice slope can be clearly seen somewhat higher. This ice slope is known as the Pendiente Delta (Delta Slope), which connects with the Pilar de los Vientos, the summit ridge.
The Pendiente Delta (See Foto4 ) is 150 meters long and has an inclination of 60º at the bottom, and up to 75º-80º at its exit. The slope is traversed diagonally to the right until reaching the ridge. At the end of it there is some climbing gear left by previous parties.
Once the Delta slope is climbed, the long summit ridge called Pilar de los Vientos must be followed. Some 100 meters above the Pendiente Delta there is a site situable for the third bivouac.
The route being very clear from here on, the ridge must be followed straight up, the inclination being of about 70º. There are in this area rests of previous bivouacs. 250 higher the route´s greatest obstacle is encountered, a rock arete called El Escorpión (The Scorpion), See Foto5 . This section demands a pitch and a half of rock climbing with difficulties of 5.9 - 5.8 YDS (See Foto6 ). Two chimeneys go up this arete. The left one should be followed. Inside it, some climbing gear, which shouldn´t be trusted, might be found. Continuing up the Pilar de los Vientos (See Foto7 ), and 300 meters above El Escorpión, is the site where the authors of this description made their fourth bivy, some 100 meters below the summit. Continuing up a 60º slope, whose inclination slowly decreases, the final 100 meters are covered, thus reaching the South Summit, also called "Cúpula de los Vientos".
The descent is done by the normal route. From the summit, walk 60 meters along the summit ridge towards the West, where some couloirs coming from the north face reach the ridge. It takes four rappels to descend by any of these couloirs to a scree slope from where the Mesón Alto Glacier may be easily reached, and where the descent connects with the normal route. Once on the glacier, climb down any of the accesses to it (see routes Estero Cortaderas or Paso Ventana). It is also possible to downclimb along the route of ascent. So it has been reported by several teams.
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