Trip to Los Gigantes in Córdoba – Argentina – Ascent of Cerro de la Cruz

Argentina Trips

Los Gigantes (The Giants) is a group of granite peaks located in the middle of the mountain ranges of the Sierras Grandes, 80km west by road from Córdoba, the capital of the province of the same name. This beautiful eroded rock formation is an excellent destination for trekking, rock climbing, or simply to get in touch with Nature.

Getting to Los Gigantes:

From the Cordoba central bus station Buses Sarmiento runs a daily bus to Los Gigantes at 8 am. On its return journey to Cordoba the bus passes through Los Gigantes stop, on route 28, at about 11:00 am, except on Sundays and Holidays when it passes at 17:30 pm. This rather dusty trip takes around three hours and the fare is about US$ 6. Taxis (remises) can be hired in the town of Tanti for about US$ 30 one way. From Los Gigantes stop, the walk to the starting point of the route, La Rotonda (the Round), takes about 45 minutes passing through a tiny village called Villa Amelita. At La Rotonda there is a mountain hut where basic supplies can be bought. Private vehicles can be left there too for a fee of US$2 per day.

Permits & regulations:

  • All visitors to Los Gigantes must pay an entrance fee of about US$2.5 per day at La Rotonda.
  • Lighting campfires (or using firewood) is banned, so carrying a portable stove is essential.
  • Camp sites: free camping without facilities is available in several places in Los Gigantes. Best spots can be found in La Aguja Vita, Refugio CAC (club andino Córdoba refuge) and El Tío.
  • All rubbish must be carried back to La Rotonda with you.

The trek:

After signing in up at La Rotonda, we started to follow a well-trodden path marked with cairns, which climbed gently in the direction of the Cerro de la Cruz. After walking for about 30 minutes the route brought us to a place more or less flat where stood a rock called El Pollito (little chicken) in honor to its shape. From there, we followed the same direction for about 50m and turned right making our way upwards over a ridge to finally descent to a tiny stream. In this area, known as El Tío, we could see the first rock climbers in the wall across the stream. The route went up following the stream for about 20 minutes until reaching a place known as La Aguja Vita (Needle Vita) where nice camp sites can be found.

The 2180m high Cerro de la Cruz got up to the left of our recent way. An easy route: el Camino de las Viejas (the old woman’s way) rises gently to the summit from La Aguja Vita. The path first makes a detour around Cerro de la Cruz south face to finally ascend the southeast hillside of the peak, reaching the summit in a 3 hours return trek. Villa Carlos Paz and San Roque Lake are visible from the summit to the southeast as well as the entire granitic mass of Gigantes to the northwest.

The 100m high west wall of the Cerro de la Cruz has many climbing routes and has been for many years a classic climbing school in Argentina. Trips to this lovely natural site can be done all year round, but recommended months are from March to May and September to early December. If you plan to visit Los Gigantes in your trip to Argentina, here is a link with a couple of maps of Los Gigantes that can be useful.

Photo courtesy of .Luc.

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pilar said...

I'm wondering when the photo posted was taken. I was planning on spending a day in the area in early June. Is there the possibility of snow at that time?

David Ven said...

It can snow in winter. I had three days with snow in July of 2007, almost four inches, and four days in the second fortnight of July of 2009.

But I think that snowing in the first days of June is less probably. with luck!