Chile is an ideal country for mountain climbers! Hugging the Andes Mountains from tip to tail and lined with volcanoes, Chile offers ample opportunities for mountaineers.
In the very north of Chile on the border with Bolivia in the Altiplano lies Lauca National Park, home to the snow-capped Parincota volcano and Chungara lake. Parincota is a climbing favourite and provides an interesting ascent with crampons and an ice axe over it’s glacier-covered summit. The rewarding view leads across the Andes and Bolivia.
At 6,891m, Ojos del Salado volcano in the Atacama region is the world’s tallest volcano. The ascent is mainly hiking apart from the final part where it gets a little trickier and ropes are needed.
Mountaineering in the Andes near Santiago offers various routes and encounters with nature. Cascada runs a 5 day trip for those wanting to trek up Cerro el Plomo - a 5,424m giant ice-capped dome looming in the Santiago horizon. More relaxed day trip options exist in Santiago, like climbing Providencia (2,750m) hill for example.
Going south from Santiago to the Maule Valley you reach Talca and its nearby Altos de Lircay natural reserve with large volcanoes Descabezados and Quizapu. In Araucania, Villarrica volcano is climbed by thousands of tourists every year who slog upwards, using crampons towards the top, to peer into the lava-filled crater. The views of the surrounding area are spectacular on a clear day.
Further south in Puerto Varas there are options for trekking up Osorno volcano, leading to a stunning view of Llanquihue lake and the surrounding Lake District. Nearby Calbuco volcano is also climbed by mountaineers each year.
In Torres del Paine National Park there is a big history of mountaineering, with major feats by professional mountaineers including Paine Grande and Las Torres. In 2011 a group of Chileans were the 3rd ever group to reach the Paine Grande summit.