6 Days Condor Circuit with ascent of the Vulcano Descabezado Grande

Level of difficulty: Difficult, day hikes of 6 – 9 hours / Summit day 10 -13 hours
Ascent is possible from November to April


Day 1:

Departure at 7:00AM at your Hotel / Hostal or the Plaza de Armas. After 1.5 hours we will arrive at Vilches Alto where our Arriero (muleteer) waits with the horses for our backpacks. After we store our backpacks we will start hiking and will arrive around 4 hours later at the Valle de Venado viewpoint (1800m alt.) where we will have the first glimpse of our target, the beheaded volcano Descabezado Grande.
After a short rest we hike down 700m to the inside of the Valle de Venado,  then on to the Conaf Refugio where we will pitch our tents.

Day 2:

Today’s target are the hot springs at the base of the volcano (1900m alt.).
It will take around 6 hours for the shortest stage of the whole tour where we have to cross the river two times and we will have plenty of time to relax in the hot springs. It is the perfect way to prepare for the summit day. (Don’t forget your towel)
The volcano is now only 6.5km linear distance away.

Day 3: (Summit day)

At 4:30AM in the darkness we will start hiking, due to it being a 9 – 10 hr ascent. Strong flashlights, possibly headlamps, are absolutely essential. After a fantastic sunrise and with every vertical meter the view will become more stunning.
After 75% of the ascent we can look inside the neighboring active stratovolcano crater Quizapú on the Cerro Azul volcano, who’s eruption in 1932 sent up an ash cloud that reached South Africa. It was one of the biggest eruptions in the last century.
After 9 –10 hours we will reach the edge of the Descabezado Grande crater (3830m alt.) and enjoy the fantastic panoramic views.
We need less than half of the time for the way back to the camp-ground where we will stay another night and recover from the stress of the day.

Day 4:

Today we will have, apart from the summit day, one of the longest but also the most beautiful stages of 24km. From the hot springs, we will hike on lava ash up to a height of 2300Meter before we will turn to the Laguna Manantial Pelado. Above the Laguna is the same named mountain with its 3046 meters. After a break at the Laguna it will continue up to the pass at 2530m and then into the long valley down until we will arrive at 1600m in a beautiful magical forest. In this forest we will stay again during the night.

Day 5:

Right at the beginning of the day, we have to handle a climb of 700m before we will reach the plateau Guamparo. At the end of this long plain, a giant rock wall will take us in its spell.
We will continue to CONAF campground where the tough guys can use the existing Ice cold showers.

Day 6:

Again it goes up directly in the morning. 500 vertical meters and we are on the Enladrillado. The mysterious platform, which is also known as a UFO landing site.

There we have a great view of the Descabezado Grande and our route we made the last days.

After considering the various theories about the Enladrillado we will continue hiking to the Laguna del Alto, which we will look from above. For the last way back to the park entrance, we need further 3-4 hours.

The tour includes:

  • Transfers
  • Guide
  • Arriero (Sherpa) with horses for the backpacks
  • Entrance fees
  • Trekking sticks
  • Camping mat
  • Tent
  • Cooker, dishes and gas
  • Food
  • A call home via satellite phone from the summit 🙂

Briefing of the tour is on the evening before.

Not including:

  • Sleeping bag (can be rent)

You have to bring obligatory:

  • Sturdy shoes
  • Rain-, wind proofed and warm clothes (even in summer)
  • Sandals for the river crossing
  • Flashlight, possibly headlamp
  • Gloves
  • Fleece hat or similar
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun cream
  • Good Physical condition
  • Don’t forget the towel for the hot springs

Technical Data


2 persons:                    $680.000 CHP / person
3 persons:                    $625.000 CHP / person
4 or more persons:     $595.000 CHP / person