On our third day in San Pedro, Serene decided to take a break while I went to scramble up a volcano. I had set my sights on Volcan Sairecabur (5971 m) because it required a more involved scramble and had a spectacular view of Bolivia from the summit. Since I didn't have a car nor local knowledge of the area (the Chilean-Bolivian border is land mined in certain areas, such as around the volcano Licancabur), I went in search of a organized trip to the volcano. Unfortunately, there were no trips available for anything but Cerro Toco (with agency Vulcano), which is an easier scramble than Sairecabur.
Although not my first choice, I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and the views from the summit was spectacular. We were supposed to take an old mining road up to the start of the ridge to begin scrambling, but the road was washed out with soft gravel; our driver, Pedro, had to stop a few miles short and we walked up the wash instead. In all, we (the guide Ivan, and a Belgian couple Vincent and Laurence) scrambled only about 2000 feet up a class 2/3 (upper section is a little sketchy) scree ridge to reach the summit. Never having been this high, I expected to suffer some mild altitude sickness (the only acclimitization I did was sleeping three nights at 8000 feet in San Pedro and going on jeep tours up to 14000 feet), but I surprisingly did not suffer even headaches during this trip. I suspect that I was probably not at altitude long enough for any symptoms of AMS to kick in.