ROUND TRIP PITACANE
Level of difficulty:Normal
Region:Chile / Putre
Starting point:La Chakana
The hike starts in Chakana / Putre. Arrival
The round trip starts at Putre’s market. You pass the market and take the path starting at the school and the military area leading down towards the West. We leave more and more populated area behind us. To the left and to the right only grazing areas are to be seen. At the crossroads for Puquios we keep left towards Puquios, the former train station on the route Arica - La Paz. We follow the road straight ahead, cross a small mountain stream and walk along old pasture walls, the so called Pirkas.
After about 4 km the path splits in both directions, up and down. Here we take the north-western side of the valley downhill. Once arrived at the bottom we cross a small mountain stream. We walk a narrow path which leads along tall cliffs and let us gaze into deep canyons covered by meadow foxtail. To the right a veritable cacti paradise opens up. 4.5 km further we discover an old shepherd hut. Now and then we see traditional terraces which are cultivated even on the steepest slopes.
After about 5 km we climb down and leave the beautiful Quebrada de Putre with its waterfalls behind us. (Note: mobile net reception possible here!). From here you discover high up a lovely viewing point and camp from where you have a magnificent view over a pre-hispanic settlement which cannot be seen from down below. After another 200 meters the Wiakahuranny rock paintings appear - red on white bedrock. In former times a shepherd hut was erected here with a roof of rocks. Unfortunately soldiers destroyed parts of the paintings - a sad prove of present day people’s ignorance. We continue our way towards North-East, pass a small shepherd hut and reach the next major canyon Quebrada Laitane.
Some 7 km further on we reach the crossroads to Puquios to the other side of the valley, whereby the left path leads directly to the former train station. We stay on our side of the valley and walk, keeping to the right, higher up along the steep rocky hill. The opposite side of the valley is covered by old terraces and to our right huge cliffs rise up. We walk along an old path which once was mounted with rocks. We penetrate deeper into an area rich in cactus species whose numbers increase as we go up and whose size become larger the further we go. After 7.5 Km on the left side of the valley we see three to four water pools located one above each other and fed by a blustering waterfall. One could say these are the "7 tazas de Putre". Shortly thereafter we reach a crossroad. To the left the path leads down to the river and to its end. We take it to the right walking further up over an edge and leave the Quebrada Laitane.
We have in front of us a new gorge with a unique outlook over giant rocks and a multitude of cacti which you rarely get to see. We follow the path through this world of rocks and cacti. The further we continue the more the vegetation is changing. We see less cacti which are now replaced by shrubs. After another 9 km the view is changing - Putre lies at our feet.
The Pitacane summit is now to be climbed. We keep to the right – the summit cross in front of us shows us the way. As we reach the altitude of 3,534 meters we have a great panoramic view - the Lluta Valley, Putre’s green terrace fields and the peaks of Taapaaca covered in ice. From the summit there is still one hour back to Putre. To get there we follow the footpath, Putre is located to our right hand side.
Do not forget to take along drinking water and sunscreen
Constant altitude of 3500 m - 3600 m
About 16 km