28th December to 18 January
Mt Aconcagua (6962m) is the jewel of the Andes. Base camp (Plaza de Mulas) is at a lofty 4500m ASL and supports the temporary facilities of hot showers, an internet cafe and even a hamburger stand! But ‘Ac’ is not a ‘piece of cake’. Warm moist air off the nearby Pacific ocean and the notorious ‘Viento Blanco’ (White wind) makes ‘Ac’ cold and very challenging. That’s why it’s a 21 day expedition!And why perseverance is the key to reaching the summit of the highest mountain in South America.
We fly into Buenos Aires, transfer directly to Mendoza, and then bus up to Punta da I’inca where we enter the National park. We overnight there and take a three day mule trek up to the Base camp from where the real climb begins.
Climbing Mt Aconcagua demands ascending and descending the slopes many times: stocking camps whilst acclimatising in preparation for the summit bid.
After resting for a day in Plaza de Mulas (Base camp), we ascend to Camp 1: Nido de Cóndores at 5500m. The ascent has to be slow to improve acclimatization. We immediately return to BC to recover.
After this, the next destination is Camp two via a day at Camp one. Camp Berlín is at 5900m, and from here the assault on the summit begins. Among zigzags and slopes, climbers pass Independencia, Saddle de los Vientos, Gran Travesía up to Súper Gully (steep with loose rocks and snow) and onto the summit pyramid.
Drinking water is produced by melting snow, so camp craft skills are important. At Base Camp tents are provided. Above that altitude all tents are self carried (in pairs). Porters are available on request.
The gear list includes crampons, double boots and an ice axe. In general no short-shafted ice axe or ropes are needed.