The journey starts in Salta city. We will go to San Antonio de Los Cobres and will spend the first night at 3750m above sea level. On the way (El Toro Gorge) we will stop in a place to do a 5 hours’ trekking (up & down) at 1500m of level. We will spend the night at a comfortable hotel in San Antonio.
In the morning, we will go in a truck to a small volcano base located at 4500m above sea level and we will start a short trek (3 hours up & down) to get to the crater of the summit at 4960m. Then, we will return to the truck and we will drive to Tolar Grande village where we will spend the night at a hotel or a refuge, depending on availability.
Leaving Tolar Grande, we will have our first target: Macón hill, 5600m above sea level. The idea of this mountain is to get the perfect acclimation before the main objective of the trip: Socompa volcano, but if the effort is not enough to get to the summit, we should save energy for our next try. So, we can spend 5 or 7 hours (up & down) on this day or just the necessary amount to feel good in the altitude. We will spend the night again in the same place: Tolar Grande.
This day will be a transport day from Tolar Grande to Socompa base. We will have to do that all day long, in a very relaxed way and we can even use the Gendarmeria Nacional Argentina military shelters right on the border with Chile, at 3.900m.
It is D-day to start our final trek. We will start early in the morning to get to the bivouac place at 5300m above sea level. We will spend maybe 7 hours to get to this location. We will not make a camp with tents; we will only use our sleeping bags to spend the night. Why? Because the only place we can put up tents is right on the crater, and for the sake of safety, if there is a small earth tremble at night, there are a lot of huge rocks that may fall down to the top of the crater. I promise you, this bivouac will be the strongest experience in your life because you will sleep looking up at millions of stars without any pollution around.
The big effort was a matter of yesterday, today we will just enjoy the summit attack and from there, you will think how much it has worth it. You will be standing right on the volcano rings that divide Argentina and Chile: The Altiplano and The Atacama Desert. This is one of the most beautiful summits that I have reached in my whole life. After going down to the base camp, we will spend our last night into the Andes.
We will be driving back to Salta all day long. If we start early in the morning, the estimated arrival time in Salta city will be around 7:00 PM. And this will be the end of one unforgettable experience in your life.