With a 4WD or a car and a lot of patience, and don’t forget the dramamine, you, yes you can rocket up from 500 m above sealevel in downtown Santiago, up to 3200 m in just a couple of hours and 40-plus hairpin curves. From there it’s a 30 minute scramble and about a two hour (additional) hike up to Cerro El Pintor, which is at 15,000 feet, just a bit under 5,000 meters. The change in altitude and subsequent nausea notwithstanding, this is a very accessible place, yet relatively unvisited.
We got to make fresh tracks in the snow, as we were only the second group of people to climb up that day. It’s the middle of the summer here, in February, and we were all surprised by the snow. The weather was clear from 9:30 AM when we arrived, until about 2:30 PM, when we started our descent, where the clouds started frothing up from the valley and coming over the lesser peaks. By the time we got back to the Jeep, chunks of snow were falling. Good luck to the people who were on their way up when we were on our way down. And note to self: sunprotective shirt only protects where it is covering, watch the neck!
A good day was had by all.