Cerro San Francisco

Cerro San Francisco – 19,744ft

On the summit

Eric Gilbertson

December 27, 2017

I had just summitted Ojos del Salado, the highest mountain in Chile, and found myself with an extra three days in the area. I was very well-acclimated, having recently climbed two 22,000ft+ mountains (Aconcagua a bit earlier), so decided to try to bag a few 6,000m peaks in the vicinity.

After hiking down from the Ojos base camp, I found my car at the Murray Hut and decided to hike up Cerro San Francisco, a 6,000m peak nearby that had a trail to the summit. I drove an hour to the Chile-Argentina border, arriving at 3pm. It was a bit late to start a long hike, so I hung out in my car admiring the view.

As the sun set I cooked dinner in a small refuge at the border, then curled up in my car and went to sleep. The next morning I set off shortly after sunrise, hiking south from the road along a rough 4×4 track. The track wound up the side of the road until it ended at a large cairn when the terrain got too steep. From here I followed more cairns uphill, and eventually a trail became discernible.

The trail dropped into a small valley, then traversed steeply up a scree slope to the inside of a large crater. I then hiked up to the highest point on the rim, and found myself at the summit after about 4 hours of hiking. The top was marked with a small sign and register book, and had excellent views of many nearby 6,000m peaks.

It was pretty windy and cold, so I soon descended back to my car, and drove back to the Murray Hut to spend the night.

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