Cerro Chajnantor, an awe-inspiring route in the Atacama desert
Cerro Chajnantor is a high mountain peak at an elevation of 5.635m (18,487ft) above the sea level, located in the high Atacama region of Chile. It’s one of the highest roads of South America.
Tucked away in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, the road to the summit is totally unpaved. A 4x4 vehicle is required. The zone has an exceptionally arid climate, inhospitable to humans. At the summit there’s a 6-meter (20 feet) diameter telescope. At this elevation it’s the highest astronomical site in the world.
The road to the summit was built in April 2006. It’s one of the highest roads of the country. Do not take this drive if you have respiratory problems or any type of heart condition. Notorius lack of oxygen that tests the organisms and a high degree of steepness. Most people feel altitude sickness at around 2,500-2,800 meters. Extremely low oxygen for engine combustion.
The road to the summit is pretty steep. Starting at the paved Ruta 27, the ascent is 13.86km (8.61 miles) long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 844 meters. The average gradient is 6.08%.