Having a close ecounter with this huge glacier is the main challenge that take place on Yerba Loca Nature Sanctuary, a protected area that is highlighted by snow-capped peaks of the Andes and the countless streams that give shelter to the Andean flora and fauna.
Discover with us the most incredible Andean scenarios with the help of horses that will carry our equipment so that we can walk light. Streams will quench our thirst at the precise moments, and imposing mountains that will leave you breathless, are just examples that make this tour an adventure that you will never forget.
Early in the morning our guide will pick you up at your hotel to then head east directly to Yerba Loca Natural Sanctuary (same road that leads to the main ski resorts from Santiago city). In the parking lot, our horsman with his animals will be waiting to load the equipment, to then, begin our walk through this immense glacial valley that extends to the north by gaining altitude and encausing gradually.
The trail section to our camp site has 6,5 miles (10,5km) and consist of five hours of hike. This regularly ascends with low steepness by the east bank of the Yerba Loca river, which delves slowly in the deep mountains where vegetation soon disappears, giving way to bare rock. On route, creeks appears on the right moments with pure water for good hydration.
As we get into, the valley narrows and towering stone walls begin to unfold. We will make our camp in a great spot near the river, at the foot of a singular waterfall that freezes in winter. Here we will enjoy the Andean night accompanied by a delicious dinner and a good conversation.
In the morning and after breakfast we will disarm camp and prepare the equipment for the muleteer who will help us by bringing back down our equipments to the entrance of the Sanctuary. On our backpacks we’ll bring the box lunch and some coat and beginning the hike to La Paloma glacier lookout. The first section consists of crossing Yerba Loca estuary and start zigzagging to reach new vistas of the valley and the huge surrounding peaks.
We will cross a great plain well known as «Campos de Marte» (Mars fields), passing through «Piedra Carvajal», an old stone refuge used by muleteers and possibly built by the Incas. After about two hours and having gaining more height, La Paloma Glacier begins to be appreciated. The Altar mount (5,180m – 16,984ft) and La Paloma mount (4,910m – 16,098ft) impose themselves full of expression.
We will have lunch at the foot of this glacier and recover energy while enjoying a unique landscape. By the afternoon we will begin the hike back to the vehicle to then get return to your hotel (20:00 hrs. approx.).
- Activity: Trek
- Tour length: Two days, one night
- Total distance: 21 miles (34km)*
- Location: Yerba Loca Natural Santuary
- Difficulty: Medium
- Elevation gain: 6.230ft (1.900m)
- Max elevation: 11.150ft (3.400m)
- Season: From November to Abril
* back and forth
- 8:00 Pick up at your hotel.
- 8:40 Arrival Sanctuary of nature Yerba Loca.
- 9:00 Distribution of equipment. Beginning of hike.
- 13:00 Lunch La Lata sector.
- 15:30 Arrival Waterfall sector. Set the camp.
- 19:00 Dinner.
- 7:00 Breakfast and unarmed camp.
- 8:00 Start of trekking.
- 10:00 Rest in Piedra Carvajal.
- 12:00 Arrival point of the glacier La Paloma. Lunch.
- 13:30 Start of the descent.
- 19:00 Arrival to the vehicle.
- 20:00 Arrival at your hotel.
- Private transport, hotel pick up
- 1 guide every 4 guests
- All meals (breakfast, dinner and two box-lunches)
- Trekking poles
- Tent (four seasons)
- Sleeping bag
- VHF radios and satellite phone
- First aid kit
- Entrance fee
- Personal clothing
- Secure against accident
- Small backpack
- Long sleeves polyester shirt
- Two warm mid layers
- Waterproof hooded jacket
- Hiking boots
- Sun hat
- Winter hat