Santiago to Mendoza pass

ihana.com - big trip - diary - chile - april 2003

Switchbacks on the way...

...to the tunnel...

...and adios Chile

Friday 4 April

The pass over the Andes from Santiago to Mendoza is spectacular. Climbing through arid landscape with a rocky river in the valley below, the Chilean road turns into a series of switchbacks, crossing underneath ski lift pylons as it winds its way up the pass.

There is a tunnel through the mountains before reaching the Argentinian side. Roadworks inside forced us to wait for 15 minutes before going in, passing the workers who were wearing breathing gear in the dusty atmosphere - sometimes wish we had some of that in the landy!

Drive through customs

 

The border post is an undercover drive through affair with both the Chilean and Argentinian customs together. A short distance down the pass is the turn off for Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas at 6962m. Its a 40kms hike to the base of the mountain from here then a mighty slog to the top. We managed the ten minutes walk to the viewpoint.

 

Puente de Incas

Covered railway line out of action

 

Only 40kms walk to the base from here

 

Zooming down the windy pass we were often overtaken by insane lorry drivers who obviously know the road well and whats coming round blind bends too maybe. As it got dark we arrived in the Mendoza sprawl and headed for the centre.

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