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Mount Aconcagua, Argentina

6,959 metres (22,830 feet)

Pciture of Aconcagua

13th Jan - 4th Feb 2005

Introduction

Mt.Aconcagua - at 22,830 feet, the highest peak in the Western and Southern hemisphere and the highest mountain in the world outside Asia. It is second after Everest of the 'Seven Continental Summits'.

It is particularly impressive, rising 1000m above its neighbours and visible from the Pacific Ocean on a clear day.

The mountain has two summits- North (6,959m) and South (6,930m), joined by a ridge (Cresta del Guanaco) approximately one kilometre long.

Itinerary

This expedition is planned for January13th to February 4th 2005.

Day 1 - Fly London to Buenos Aires and on to Plumerillos airport Mendoza

Day 2 - Transfer to Aconcagua Provincial Park permit office, to obtain the respective climbing permits, and then head west to the village of  Penitentes, situated at the foot of the valleys that access the mountain. Lodging at Hotel Penitentes.

Day 3 - Transported to Punta de Vacas where we begin the first day's trek towards the foot of Aconcagua through the Vacas Valley.

After 4 to 5 hours we reach our first camp called Pampa de Lena situated at an elevation of 2,800m (9,186ft).

Day 4 - Continuing along the same valley for 6 to 7 hours, we reach Casa de Piedra camp situated at an elevation of 3,200m (10,500ft) from camp up through the Relinchos pass we can clearly see the Polacos glacier on Aconcagua.

Day 5 - Continue along the Vacas river valley towards Quebrada Vieja. To our right we can see the impressive glaciers of thePenitentes Range. It takes 7 to 8 hours from casa Piedra to Plaza Guanacos base camp situated at 3,600m (11,810ft).

Day 6 - Rest day at Plaza Guanacos base camp.

Day 7 - Without the help of the mules, we begin our first day of portage carrying small personal gear and common gear to deposit it in what will be our high camp 1, situated at 4,200 m 9 (13,780ft) in 3 to 4 hours. We return to base camp. It is crucial to take advantage of the comfort of our base camp and achieve a slow and safe acclimatisation from the start.

Day 8 - Today we climb to high camp 1 at 4,200 m (14,780ft) with the rest of our gear. This climb is the beginning of the ascent to the summit leaving base camp behind. All unnecessary equipment will be left here at Plaza Guanacos to be carried out on the mules, once we have made the crossing to high camp 4 situated at Piedras Blancas.

Day 9 - With the same technique we used to reach camp 1, we will port gear to camp 2 situated at 4,900m (16,075ft) returning in the afternoon to camp 1.

Day 10 - We continue to camp 2 at 4,900 m (16,075ft), with a new perspective of the surrounding mountains. 

Day 11 - We rest in camp 2 to assure ongoing acclimatisation.

Day 12 - We port equipment up to camp 3 at 5,500m (18,044ft) and return to camp 2.

Day 13 - We climb to camp 3 at 5,500m (18,044ft) with rest of the gear and sleep there with incredible views of Polacos glacier.

Day 14 - We climb from camp 3 at 5,500m (18,044ft) to Piedras Blancas at 6,000m (19,685ft). From this high we can reach the summit in one day. the weight of our packs will have decreased as we are carrying less food and fuel. Camp at Piedras Blancas.

Days 15,16,& 17 - From Piedras Blancas we are ready to attempt the summit at an elevation of 6,959m (22,830ft), so we wait for the best climatic conditions for this purpose. After reaching the summit we return to Piedras Blancas.

Day 18 - We come down from Piedras Blancas on the normal route to Plaza de Mulas at 4,200m (14,780ft).

Day 19 - From Plaza de Mulas we have mules to help carry out our gear, allowing for a "light trek" through Playa Ancha and Horcones Valley to the village of Penitentes in a 6 to 7 hour hike. At the Park Rangers station transport awaits us to take us to the Hotel Mendoza to reach the comfort of this beautiful Argentinean city. A nice meal, a few pints and a warm bed awaits.

Day 20 - Return to Mendoza and on to Buenos Aires before flight back to London.

Day 21- Arrive back in London

 

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