Ollague to Aucanquilcha

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.

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Total dist. Stage dist. Description
0 km Ollague (3,710m – GPS01). Village with guesthouses (Hostal Atahualpa and Hostal El Cuervo offer beds for around 10000pesos per night) which offer meals, 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.
Difficulty 5
How much we had to push on this route ~11kms (steep, bad surface)

GPS Point Description Lat/Long/Altitude
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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Nearby routes:        Ollague to Uyuni                 Sur Lipez Lagunas

One Response to “Ollague to Aucanquilcha”

  1. Cyril 15/08/2017 at 21:57 # Reply

    we try to climb with our bike the volcano in June 2017. In Amincha there is still two old women who are living there and there is plenty of water.
    We hided some stuff in the old building and we started to climb..
    the road is still good until the cable car. After it is sandy, rocky, snowy… We push until 4900m, let the bike along the road and continue by foot. The headwind was terrible and we did not manage to reach the settlement at 5300m.
    We camp along the road at 5148m. In the night we have got caught in a wind storm and at 6am we packed everything and came back to amincha.
    The “road” up to the summint was covered with snow 🙁

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