From Las Cuevas, the last Argentine outpost before the tunnel into Chile, a zigzag dirt road barely wide enough for a single vehicle in some spots, climbs eight kilometers to a blustery border ridge where Uruguayan sculptor Mateo Alonso’s eight-meter, six-ton statue Cristo Redentor marks the border between Chile and Argentina. Taken by train to Uspallata  in 1904, it went the rest of the way by mule; it commemorates the peaceful conclusion, in 1902, of a territorial dispute between the two countries.
Reaching 4,200 meters above sea level, this forbidding road was the main route between the two countries until the three-kilometer Cristo Redentor tunnel opened in 1980; today it’s the province of tourists and tour buses.
Upward-bound vehicles have the right-of-way, but not every Argentine driver appears to appreciate this, so be on guard. It’s still possible to continue to the Chilean border post at Los Libertadores by foot or bicycle, but the road is not open to motor vehicles beyond the ridge.
At the pass, there are two refugios, one Argentine and one Chilean: The former sells cheap sandwiches and coffee, while the latter gives away hot chocolate (tips appreciated). Befitting a monument devoted to peace between peoples, Cristo Redentor has its own binational website (www.cristoredentorchiar.galeon.com ).