11 days and counting til I take off.
Here’s the day by day itinerary
Aconcagua Ameghino Valley Upper Guanacos Traverse Full Itinerary
Group meets in Mendoza, Argentina. Equipment check and afternoon briefing will be at the hotel. For dinner we will have a chance to taste fine Argentinean cuisine and wine.
Drive west from Mendoza to Penitentes ski area at 8,500’. Our drive winds along the Rio Mendoza deep into the heart of the rugged Andes mountains where we begin our acclimatization in Penitentes. Afternoon hike is recommended, though optional.
Day 3 – 5
Approach to Base Camp. Hike up the Vacas and Ameghino Valleys to Base Camp. Mules will carry our gear. Here we begin the route, which was established in 1934 by a Polish Expedition. Even today this eastern approach to the mountain is not as heavily traveled as the Normal Route. After three days of spectacular, colorful, high desert scenery we reach our Base Camp, at 13,800’. The hike to Base Camp is approximately 40 miles and gives us the perfect chance to begin our acclimatization.
Rest and acclimatization day at Base Camp. We want everyone to have the best possible chance to make the summit. The most effective way to do this is to take the time to acclimatize to the low oxygen environment. We will incorporate rest days into our schedule and climb in traditional expedition style. We will be carrying loads up to the next camp and returning to sleep below at the previous camp. The next day we will move to the higher camp. This is an excellent method of acclimatization, which is our main focus throughout your expedition.
Carry a load to Camp I, at 16,300’. The route goes up a gentle trail on the rocky moraine-covered Relinchos Glacier situated between Cerro Aconcagua and Cerro Ameghino. Here we will be able to see Nieve Penitentes, unique snow and ice formations created by the direct sun. Return to Base Camp.
Leave Base Camp. Move to Camp I
Carry a load to Camp II, at 17,500’. Fantastic view of the Polish Glacier. We ascend scree slopes to a broad ridge crest where we will establish Camp II. Today we reconnect with our UPPER GUANACOS VALLEY ROUTE! After reaching the Ameghino saddle, a gentle easy traverse takes us to the Guanacos.
Move to Camp II.
Move to Camp III, at 17,800’. A carry will not be needed today, since we have already done our short carry most likely the day before. This is an easy day where we traverse from the saddle to the upper Guanacos, elevation gain is minimum. This camp and tactic are key for our success. Using 2 camps at the 17,500’ level we save a day, which can be used later for a rest or a weather day at High Camp. On this particular day, this route creates one of the best upper mountain acclimatization possibilities on Aconcagua. The results are overwhelmingly positive: a team very well acclimatized.
Carry to High Camp, Piedras Blancas (White Rocks), at 19,200’.
Move to High Camp, from where we will tackle the summit the next day.
Day 14 – 17
Summit! Weather permitting. We leave several days for our summit day in case of poor weather.
Descend down the Normal Route, all the way to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp, at 13,800’. This will be quite exciting since we descend a different side of the mountain.
Descend the Horcones Valley with its impressive views of Aconcagua’s South Face. Mules carry our gear. Spend the night in Penitentes.
Drive back to Mendoza. Evening banquet with your team. Spend night in Mendoza.
Fly home or continue traveling in South America.
Trip guided by Aventuras Patagonicas http://patagonicas.com/