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MARMOLEJO (AZE 013)

Marmolejo, the most austral 6000m summit of the world,  is located on the Chilean-Argentinean border, only a few miles from Santiago.

The ascent requires a very good physical condition since the approach to the mountain takes up some days. Nevertheless, the Marmolejo is relatively easy to climb.

This mini-expedition promises fantastic experiences for those who wish to get away from civilization for some days and get magnetized by the mountain panorama.

Type of trip: mountaineering
Duration: 9 days
Suggested period: December to April
Fitness level: very demanding
Technical level: moderate

  • Marmolejo (6108m)
  • Maipo Valley
  • Andes panorama

DAY 1: SANTIAGO – CAJON DEL MAIPO – CHORIBOULDER

Pick up at your hotel or the airport of Santiago and drive through Chile’s capital and into the Cajon de Maipo, a wide valley that leads us from the city directly into the Anden Mountain Range. We follow the valley for about 100km until the plateau called Choriboulder at an altitude of about 2400 m. Here huge rocks attract a lot of local climbers to practice their skills. We camp nearby a small stream at the plateau.
Lunch and dinner included.
Night in camp
Transfer: 2,5 h approx.

DAY 2: CHORIBOULDER – MARMELEJOS BASE CAMP

From here the hike starts together with the pack animals  that accompany you until the base camp which is at an altitude of 3.400 m approx. This day’s trekking takes you across a flat valley named “Valle de la Engorda”, for its green scrubs that feed local goats and horses. It’s interrupted by various streams and you can enjoy the views at the majestic San José volcano in the background. We cross the valley to its north-eastern edge and follow the Marmolejos stream for about 10 km until we reach an open terrace where we arm the base camp.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Night in camp
Walking time: 7 h approx.
Elevation: +1000 m

DAY 3: MARMOLEJOS BASE CAMP – HIGH CAMP I – BASE CAMP

Today we get further acclimatised by an transporting material to the first high camp. We follow the mountain path to the end of the valley where a mountain saddle separates the Marmolejos valley with it northern counterpart. The sometimes a bit confused path climbs the saddle of loose materials and some snow banks. On the top the path turns east following the ridge to a flat where so called pircas, round stone circles build to protect a tent, mark the place of the first high camp (4100 m). From here we have the first view of the Marmolejos summit. We return to the base camp.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Night in camp
Walking time: 8 h approx.
Elevation: +600 m, -600 m

DAY 4: BASE CAMP – HIGH CAMP I

Climb to the first high camp.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Night in camp
Walking time: 5 h approx.
Elevation: +600 m

DAY 5: HIGH CAMP I – HIGH CAMP II – HIGH CAMP I

Acclimatization and transportation climb from the first to the second high camp at about 4900m and return. We follow a rocky tongue that reaches into the glacier. We either set the second high camp at the fed of the glacier or in a isle of rock a few hundred meters in the ice field.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Night in camp
Walking time: 7 h approx.
Elevation: +800 m, -800 m

DAY 6: HIGH CAMP I – HIGH CAMP II

Climb to the second high camp.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Night in camp
Walking time: 4 h approx.
Elevation: +800 m

DAY 7: HIGH CAMP II – MARMELEJO – HIGH CAMP II

Climb of Mount Marmolejo (6108m). The traverse on the glacier is relative easy and takes about 1-2 hours. The ice does not have big crevasses and has an inclination of about 11°.
The last part of the ascent takes us first over loose volcanic sand and becomes rocky before we can reach the summit. The inclination of the terrain is an average of 32° clearly more at the last rocks. The ascent from the glacier onward takes 4 to 6 hours. From the summit we return to the second high camp. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Night in camp

Walking time: 14 h approx.
Elevation: +1200 m, -1200 m

DAY 8: HIGH CAMP II – BASE CAMP

Return to base camp. Possible second summit attempt.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Night in camp
Walking time: 6 h approx.
Elevation:  -1400 m

DAY 9: BASE CAMP – CABRERIA – SANTIAGO

Hike back from the base camp with mules for charge crossing again Valle de Engorda and reaching the road a bit further south from where we started at a place called Cabreria. Transfer back to Santiago. Breakfast, lunch included.
Walking time: 6 h approx.
Elevation:  -1140 m
Transfer: 2,5 h approx.