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Ascent to Cerro San Francisco, Catamarca


12-day expedition to Cerro San Francisco (6016 m) in Catamarca, surrounded by the beautiful unexplored landscapes of the Andean Puna.


15 Days

Oct - Dec


At the West of the province of Catamarca, in Argentina, you can find the impressive ‘seismiles’. This is a group of more than 20 mountains above 6000 m that belong to the Andes. 

Nowadays, this peaks are very popular among mountaineers all around the world. However, the place was considered a high altitude sanctuary in the past. Native people called these mountains ‘Apus’, which means 'home of the guardian spirits', to whom they offered gifts and sacrifices.

This 12-day expedition in Catamarca is also a fantastic opportunity to discover the Puna, which is a large unexplored high desert.

Salt flats, amazing lagoons and colorful mountains are part of the stunning landscapes.

As a matter of fact, the summit of Cerro San Francisco (6016 m) offers a unique view. This volcanic mountain lies in the border between the Atacama region (Chile) and Catamarca (Argentina).

Besides, it is in the center of a volcanoes avenue, that includes Tres Cruces, Incahuasi, El Fraile, El Muerto, Ojos del Salado, Cerro Solo and El Condor.

Cerro San Francisco is an ideal choice for those who want to be at 6000 m for the first time.

To start this expedition we have to travel to Fiambalá. This is actually the last Argentinian city on the 60 road that leads to Chile.

Then, we begin our trek, and stay in mountain huts or camp for the night.

For more details about this trip, you can check the program below.

If you want to discover this isolated region of the Andes, please contact me. I will be happy to be your guide in this adventure.

I also organice other mountaineering trips in Catamarca, like ascending Mount Pissis and Cerro Incahuasi.

Price includes


Day 1: La Rioja - Fiambalá

Arrival to La Rioja airport. Meeting point in the airport. Transfer and night in Fiambalá.

Day 2: Fiambalá - Hotel Cortaderas

Transfer from Fiambalá (1.600 m) to Hotel Cortaderas (3.200 m). Acclimatization trekking around the place.

Day 3: Hotel Cortaderas

Trekking to Cerro Coquena (4.100 m) and Pastos Largos (4.000 m). 6/8 hours.

Day 4: Las Grutas

Transfer in 4WD to Las Grutas (4.050 m). Trekking around the area and thermal baths. Preparation talks for the ascents and night at mountain refuge.

Day 5: Las Grutas

Ascent to Falso Morocho (4.600 m). 4 hs. Night at mountain refuge in Las Grutas.

Day 6: Las Grutas

Ascent to Cerro Beltrán (5.275 m). 5 hs. Night at mountain refuge in Las Grutas.

Day 7: San Francisco refuge.

Transfer Las Grutas – San Franciso international border (4.700 m). Ascent to San Francisco refuge. Night at refuge or tent.

Day 8: Optional resting date.

Day 9: Summit day - Las Grutas refuge.

Ascent to Cerro San Francisco (6.016 m). Descent to Las Grutas refuge.

Day 10: Extra day in case of bad weather.

Day 11: Las Grutas - Fiambalá

Transfer Las Grutas (4.050 m) – Fiambalá (1.600 m). Afternoon in thermal baths. Farewell ‘asado’ at night.

Day 12: Transfer Fiambalá – La Rioja.


About the guide

Guide profile image




Mountain Guide

EPGAMT Mountain Guide from Mendoza, Argentina.

I always enjoyed the mountains, and started with mountaineering activities since a young age, so it was natural for me to become a mountain guide. I’ve been working for more than 15 seasons in Aconcagua, first as porter, then as Mountain Guide assistant, and now as Mountain Guide.

I climbed a lot of peaks all along the Andes mountain range, in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru, including Aconcagua (6.962 mt – 27 ascents, through different routes like the North and the Polish glacier-), Co Plata (6.000 mt), Ojos del Salado (6.780 mt), Mount Pissis (6.850 m), C° LLullaillaco (6.723 m), C° Incahuasi (6.450 m), Vn Sajama (6.550 m), Vn Bonete Chico (6 750 m), Co Junción (5000 m), Toclaraju ( 6036m), Pisco (5750m), and the three summits of Tres Cruces 6.780m. I recently did my first expedition in the Himalayas, where I reached the summit of Mt Lhotse (8.516 mt).

I usually enjoy organizing expeditions to wild, off-the-beaten-track destinations, that need a complex logistic that you won’t find easily elsewhere.

I am fluent in Spanish, English and Italian.


Italian | English

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What people are saying about Luciano



both guides..Luciano and Mauricio were first class and so was this fantastic region. I be looking for an encore in the future. Francis Lawrence



Luciano was excellent. His local knowledge showed as he was able modify the itinerary of the trip as circumstances - such as weather - changed in order to ensure the expedition was a success. He is a deeply experienced mountaineer with sound judgement prepared to provide advice whilst ensuring you have fun. I would highly recommend his services.



Personally, was more impressed with the road trip towards the mountain than the mountain itself, but it was definitely worth going. The lunar landscape in this remote area is absolutely awesome. The guide was well prepared, very friendly, and even a surprisingly good cook. The location is as far as you are likely to get from civilisation. The weather was also unusually good. But the mountain is tough and frustrating sliding down every step in the loose gravel and sand. Not everyone's cup of tea

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