Parinacota volcano is located at 6348 m altitude in northern Chile. The volcano is located near the border with Bolivia. Parinacota is located in the Lauca National Park, which is located in the Central Andes.
In Parinacota, eruptions of some eight thousand years have formed six cubic kilometers of lava that has spilled twenty-two km to the west. It blocked the river beds and formed lake Chungara.
Volcanic activity eventually recovered the volcano, in which is an ancient crater, seven hundred meters wide. On its western slopes are relatively young lava flows.
Parinacota is known as the King of the North and is one of the most popular volcanoes for tourists in this part of Chile. The beauty of the volcano is breathtaking to anyone who sees it closely. The peak is covered with a Glacier and to reach it, you should use an ice axe. The angle of slope is up to forty degrees, but under normal atmospheric conditions professional equipment is not necessary.
The crater of the volcano is deeper than two hundred and forty feet. The smoke that constantly comes from the volcano, is a reminder that it is active and could erupt again. Its most recent volcanic activity was six hundred years ago.
To reach the volcano Parinacota, you must start from Putre. There starts a 70 km. asphalt road that leads to Lake Chungara. It is good for the tourists to consult with employees of the park as to the best way of arriving at the foot of the volcano. After the lake the road winds picturesquely for nine kilometers and there you reach the place where you start climbing.
To reach the top, tourists should be prepared for a long, slow climb. The recommendation of experienced climbers is that after about three to four hours you find a place to camp. It is very difficult to find a suitable place, so tourists must be accompanied by someone who knows the terrain. Since weather conditions are specific, they require drinking plenty of water for every tourist. During the cold season, it is very difficult to find the tourist trail, as it literally is not visible. At 5100 m altitude is the last place where you can deploy camp.
After overnight, tourists should take to the top with an ice axe in their hands. In about twelve hours you will reach the top and be left time for back-up camp.
You can reach the top on the northern road that starts from Capuena, but there are provided tourist companies from Putre. It is good if tourists stay two days to acclimatize. The base camp is located at an altitude of 4823 meters. It is called Huisquitistay. Go up the sandy path along the rocky slope that leads to a large plateau.
Much water must be carried as the road is long, but dehydration can lead to serious consequences. If tourists are left without water they can drink melted snow water. The closer they are to the volcano, the more likely it is to experience unpleasant stomach ache - it is not uncommon.
The day that tourists will climb to the summit of the volcano Parinacota must be selected by a professional, as climbers are mostly dependent on weather conditions and the presence of snow. When snow quickly closes the tourist path and forms huge drifts that must be circumvented, and that makes climbing dangerous.
Besides being time consuming, it is associated with hazards, climbing in bad weather is quite tiring. It is advisable to start climbing as soon as possible during the day.