Ollague – Amincha – Aucanquilcha
This route goes up the old mine road on Aucanquilcha, and is only worth doing if you plan on summitting the volcano on foot. A road used to go to the summit at 6,176m, but since the mine closed in 1993 much of the road has fallen into disrepair. We had to push most of the way from 4,000m due to the terrible condition of the road and our bikes being weighed down with hiking gear and three days of food and water. Though people have taken their bikes to the summit, we left ours at 5,130m, deciding it was not worth taking them further as above this we didn’t think the ‘road’ was rideable in either direction.
The existence of the old road makes it relatively easy to get to the summit on foot if you are well acclimatized and the old mining camp at 5,280m makes a good base camp as there are walls to shelter your tent. The winds in this area can be fierce and especially in winter the nights can be extremely cold.
Bring food for this route from Ollague, where there are a few basic shops. In July 2010 when we were on the mountain there was a tiny bit of snow high up, but virtually none at the miners’ camp or below. As a result we had to take all water from Ollague.
|Total dist.||Stage dist.||Description|
|0 km||Ollague (3,710m – GPS01). Village with 6 guesthouses (many of which are occupied full time by miners), 2 free internet places, and a couple of basic shops.|
|10km||Leave Ollague heading W/NW. Ok surface to Amincha.|
|10km||Amincha. Old mining town with 1 resident remaining. May be possible to obtain water, if he’s in.|
|1.8km||Ok surface to old cablecar.|
|11.8km||Old cablecar. Sign saying ‘Volcan Miño 78km (straight), Pulan 34km (left)’, though it’s not actually a junction.|
|0.7km||Ok surface to junction.|
|12.5km||Junction (4,000m – GPS02). Turn R off main track and begin climbing towards the old mine on Aucanquilcha. Road soon deteriorates.|
|12.8km||Steep climb to 5,130m. Surface is often terrible and we pushed for ~80% of the way from 4,000m to our high point at 5,130m.|
|25.3km||High point at 5,130m (GPS03) where we left the bikes. From here it is 1.9km to the old miners’ camp (5,280m), but the track is rocky and sandy and would be very difficult to cycle in either direction.|
|Time and climb||Time taken – 6 hours and amount climbed 1,430m.|
|Traffic||A few mine vehicles on the way to Amincha. Nothing after the junction.|
|When we cycled||Early July 2010.|
|How much we had to push on this route||~11kms (steep, bad surface)|
|GPS01||Ollague||21.2249 S, 68.2509 W, 3,710m.|
|GPS02||Junction at 4,000m||21.2097 S, 68.3608 W, 4,000m.|
|GPS03||High point where we left the bikes||21.1937 S, 68.4555 W, 5,130m.|
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