Ojos del Salado vs.
which is the
summit in South America?
Ojos most likely by
a wide margin (but you can
them both to be sure)
The question of the
second highest summit in the Andes has been long running. Many
authorities, including, until quite recently, the offical Argentine
authorities, award this honor to
Monte Pissis, which is quoted at 6882m against 6864m to its nearby
In March 2005, the following information was supplied by leading Andes
authority John Biggar:-
I'm just back from a successful
the Puna, four 6000m summits including both Pissis and Ojos del Salado
number of clients.
I took the
following measurements with my GPS, both times I took several readings
minutes, which were all in agreement (within a meter or so anyway).
GPS in satellite rather than barometric
Ojos del Salado - 6905m,
68º32.495' this was taken sitting right on the Argentine
Chilean summit may or may not be about 50cm higher and is about 30-40m
the West. The whole summit area was much steeper than I remembered (or
just the hard work climbing at this altitude!!) and so this is
compatible with your SRTM cell reading of
Pissis - 6788m,
This was taken about 5-8m below and 20-30m SE of the summit due to
electrical activity in the atmosphere, which would have made standing
summit very unwise!!
I'm now very
convinced by both these data and the SRTM data that Pissis is just 6795m or so high. The error appears
to be quite
localised as GPS readings taken on the way there (20-30km from the
were spot on with the Argentine spot
I am aware that
other GPS readings reported from Pissis are higher, including the 1994
differential GPS survey reported by Argentina. However, even if these
I still maintain that Pissis is lower than Ojos del Salado. The
Argentine elevation of Ojos del Salado is 6864m. But this was not, as
far as I
can tell, derived from GPS, and it is at odds with the official Chilean
elevation of 6893m. To support the GPS reading found by John Biggar, I
found other measurements.
This site supplies a summit GPS reading of 6918m.
Adventures International. From this site: "He was involved
Austrians who did a survey here a few years ago, a GPS survey".
ACONCAGUA Argentina 6962 meters; OJOS DEL SALADO Chile 6900
(iii) World Wide Vikings have an image of a Magellan GPS atop
Salado. From this 2004 image I read the
545359E 7001323N" [from which I compute -27:06:40 -68:32:32]
1989, using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, Francesco
the University of Padua in Italy surveyed both Aconcagua and Ojos del
with the help of his colleagues from Padua, the Argentine Institute of
Glaciology and Nivology, and Argentine mountaineers. Ojos del Salado
determined to be 6 900 metres (22,637 ft) above the sea level, and
determined to be 6 962 metres (22,841 ft) above sea level, with a
of plus/minus five metres.
These measurements convince me that Ojos del
Salado is the second highest mountain in the Andes.
4 March 2005
POSTSCRIPT. Since the above article
was posted, the following pages, which support the above
been posted to "summitpost" by Janne Corax.
Update May 2006. Details of an accurate
DGPS reading from the summit of Monte Pissis by Peter Schön,
further confirming the above, have been posted to http://www.mapping-gis.de/files/file/Technology&more012008English.pdf.
Meanwhile a GPS reading by Bob Packard on Ojos del Salado has confirmed
that it is close to 6900 m.