Chile is a country in South America with a wealth of unique natural features. For instance, it is the country with the longest north to south span relative to area in the world, covering 39 degrees of latitude despite its fairly narrow east-to-west breadth. The country is also home to Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world. The crater lake of Ojos Del Salado is the world’s highest lake at 20,965 feet (6,390 meters) above sea level. Chile has landscape that is characterized by several mountainous regions within mountain ranges. The major range occurring in the country is the Andean range. Several peaks of these ranges have formed some of the tallest mountains in Chile and. Most of the mountains in Chile are of volcanic origin and largely influence the areas around them in terms of alpine biodiversity and climate. The mountains also form important tourist attractions especially for hiking and mountain climbing as well as geologists, researchers and archaeologists. The country has a mean elevation of 6,138 feet (1,871 meters) above sea level and the lowest point is 0 meters above sea level at the coast of Pacific Ocean while the highest elevation is on Ojos Del Salado at 22,608 feet (6,680 meters) above sea level.
Ojos Del Salado
Ojos Del Salado is the highest point in the country. Situated along the border between Argentina and Chile at an elevation of 22,608 feet, the stratovolcano was first climbed in 1937. Though the volcano shows signs of activity such as fumaroles and lava flows, it has not erupted for more than 1,300 years. The mountain is generally dry due to its proximity to the Atacama Desert. The mountain peak is covered in snow mainly during the winter and has a crater lake on the eastern side at an elevation of 20965 feet making it one of the highest lakes in the world. The mountain attracts a number of hikers and climbers.
Nevado Tres Cruces
The Nevado Tres Cruces is a part of the Andean ranges with an elevation of 22,142 feet. making it the second highest mountain in Chile. Like Ojos Del Salado, the mountain is shared between Argentina and Chile. The volcano has not erupted in the past 28,000 years but still shows future signs of explosion. The area around the mountain has a desert climate with very low precipitation and night temperatures below the freezing point. Moraine glaciers are found at an altitude of 14,400 feet and relic glaciers above 19,000 feet. The area around the mountain is sparsely populated.
Llullaillaco is the third highest mountain in Chile at an elevation of 22,110 feet, and is the world’s fourth tallest volcano. The stratovolcano, which is shared with Argentina, is part of the Andean ranges and lies within the Atacama Desert. The mountain lacks true glaciers due to aridity of the Atacama Desert. Though the mountain attracts mountain climbing, the terrain of the mountain poses dangers to climbers as well as the landmines on the mountain during the 1978 Argentina -Chile conflict. The mountain is an important archaeological center from which preserved bodies of sacrificed Incan children have been discovered.
Tres Cruces Central
Tres Cruces Central is the fourth tallest mountain in Chile with an elevation of 21,749 feet. The mountain is part of the Tres Cruces mastiff and is located between the Tres Cruces Notre and Tres Cruces Sur. The Tres Cruces Central forms the second tallest peak in the mastiff with the tallest being Nevado Tres Cruces. The mountain attracts mountaineering activities and is accessible from the pass between it and the Cerro Tres Cruces Sur. Low temperature and violent hoists make it difficult to climb the mountain at higher elevations.
Recreational Activities in Chile's Mountains
These and other mountains of Chile support a number of recreational activities that attract both local and international tourists. These activities include mountain climbing, sightseeing, snow-related sports such as skiing, and horse trekking. Other high mountains in Chile include Incahuasi, Tupungato, El Muerto, Parinacota, Pomerape, and Tres Quebradas.