Early in the morning our guide will pick you up at your hotel to then head east directly to the Andes to get to Yerba Loca Natural Sanctuary (by the same road that leads to the main ski resorts from Santiago city). On the parking area our horseman with his horses will be waiting to load the equipments and beginning our hike through this immense glacial valley that extends gaining altitude and encasing gradually to the north.
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 enter, 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 bringing back down our equipments to the entrance of the Sanctuary. On our backpacks we load the box lunch and some coat for that day and beginning the hike to La Paloma glacier. The first section consists of crossing the 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. It is estimated that the arrival at the hotel will be at 20:00 hrs.