Tejos Refuge is one of the highest roads of South America
Nestled high in the Andes, Refugio Tejos stands at a staggering elevation of 5,800m (19,000ft) above sea level. Commonly recognized as the world's highest mountain hut, this refuge isn't just a testament to altitude but is also a symbol of the challenges faced in reaching it. It's one of the highest motorable roads in the world.
Chile's High-Altitude Marvel: Refugio Tejos in the Heart of Andes
Situated in the Copiapó Province, within the arid confines of the northern Chilean region of Atacama, close to the Argentinian border, the road leading to Refugio Tejos is one of the highest roads of Chile. Moreover, it ranks prominently among the highest motorable paths on the globe. Serving as a waypoint on the route to Ojos del Salado — the zenith of the Andes and the Earth's tallest volcano — Refugio Tejos offers more than just shelter. Ojos del Salado is not only the highest point in Chile but is also the second-highest peak in South America.
Tackling Refugio Tejos' Challenging Terrains: A 4x4 Adventure in Chile
The road to this lofty refuge is entirely unpaved and notorious for its treacherous terrain, characterized by sand and dreadful conditions demanding both skill and courage to navigate. Only 4x4 vehicles piloted by expert drivers dare tread here. With a conspicuous lack of oxygen, the climb is harrowing, further accentuated by its extreme steepness. It’s one of the highest roads of South America.
Weather Extremes at Refugio Tejos: From Sunlit Peaks to Snowstorms
Refugio Tejos sits in a region where the weather is both harsh and capricious. Sunlight can swiftly give way to snowstorms, and even summertime can witness a precipitous temperature drop, ushering in wintry conditions.
The Legacy of Refugio Tejos: An L-shaped Hut Amidst Andean Legends
The L-shaped hut provides limited accommodations, offering six beds at one end, with a general room for gear and backpacks at the other. The entrance, located near the center, leads to a spacious dining table. Left behind by a Chilean mining company, the hut is a tribute to a helicopter pilot who tragically perished here after landing atop Ojos del Salado. Designed on skids and probably weighing several tons, this "L" shaped construction stands as a solemn reminder of the region's unforgiving nature.
Dangerous Drops & Challenges: Traversing the Cliffs of Refugio Tejos Road
This road is no place for the faint-hearted. The sheer vertical drops spanning hundreds of meters can make even the most experienced traveler's palms sweat. The valleys below seem a world away, and looking over the edge can be dizzyingly disorienting. It's advisable to avoid this path during windy conditions due to the precarious drops and challenges it presents.
Pic: By sergejf (Refugio Tejos) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons