Two French mountaineers who got lost climbing the Ojos del Salado volcano in Fiambalá on the Argentina-Chile border, some 1,350 kilometres northwest of Buenos Aires, have been rescued by Argentine Gendarmerie after a distress signal was activated on Sunday, the Catamarca Province Security Ministry said Tuesday.
"After an important joint operation by the high mountain teams from the police of the province of Catamarca and the National Gendarmerie, the French mountaineers, who were lost in the Fiambalá area, were found alive," a statement read.
The two tourists, along with a third French climber, had arrived in Fiambalá last week to climb the 6,891-metre-high snow-capped mountain on a route that requires at least 10 days of trekking, known as the Quemadito ravine, at 3,400 metres above sea level. However, the third climber did not acclimatise and returned to the base early.
The two missing French nationals were found on Monday at about 5,600 metres above sea level, not far from where rescue teams had set up a camp on Sunday from which to deploy the search operation in adverse weather conditions.
"The mountaineers are suffering from some health problems (dehydration), which are logical in the harsh context they had to face, but without major risks to their health," the statement said.
The operation was carried out when a weather alert was in force in the mountainous area, with heavy rain and hail.
The mountaineers had been warned about an approaching snowstorm, according to local media.