Aconcagua 2016.12 Dispatches

To celebrate our successful Aconcagua expedition, we concluded with a team dinner, an Argentinean ‘Asado’ barbecue with a selection of meat and vegetables cooked to perfection over the open fire. All team members are now on their way home, after what has been a wonderful experience.  We were very lucky with the weather, as our summit day on December 19th was perfect without any wind or clouds.  Since then, the weather has deteriorated and the other teams have not been able to summit, let alone go much higher above base camp because of the high winds.  This is typical of Aconcagua and the southern Andes, where storms can pass through and prevent climbing high on the peak for up to a week at a time.  As a recap, we did the ‘Aconcagua 360’ route, trekking in the less traveled Vacas valley to Plaza Argentina base camp, then utilizing 3 high camps before reaching the summit, and then descending to the other side of the mountain to the Plaza Mulas base amp, and trekking out the shorter and more popular Horcones valley.  We enjoyed a night before and after the expedition at the Ayelen hotel in Penitentes with our good friend Steve Allen, who does a fantastic job of managing the hotel, a rustic ski lodge in the winter that becomes a haven for Aconcagua climbers during the summer climbing season.  A couple of nights at the Park Hyatt in Mendoza made our stay very comfortable, a great way to begin and end our time together in Argentina.  We have had a fantastic time, enjoying the experience of climbing the highest peak in the Andes (and also in the Americas) as well and immersing ourselves in Argentine culture and cuisine.  Onward, to the next mountain adventure!   – Garrett Madison

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Hello this is Garrett calling in for the Aconcagua team today is Monday, December 19 and we are at the summit of Aconcagua. Beautiful day up here no clouds in the sky and no wind we really lucked out and just had a perfect day to get to the top of the mountain. First team up here have the mountain all to ourselves. Just hanging out taking photos and enjoying a few high fives and getting ready to head back down to high camp. Spend the night at high camp tonight then head down to base camp tomorrow. Everything is going well here and we look forward to getting down to base camp and then out to Mendoza soon for our celebratory dinner. Thanks for following along.

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Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison

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To review our climbing team’s summit route you can view our LIVE RainOn mapping platform HERE.

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Climbers reach the summit of Aconcagua at 6,961m / 22,837ft

“Hi, this is Garrett calling in for the Aconcagua team today is December 18th, Sunday. We are up at high camp on Aconcagua and tonight is our big night. We are going to leave for the summit early tomorrow morning probably around 5AM. And hope to be on top of Aconcagua the highest peak in the Andes midday or early afternoon. Looks like the forecasts are nice weather tomorrow not to much wind not to much snow so with a little bit of luck we will on top of the mountain and back down to high camp tomorrow evening. We will check in soon, thanks so much.”

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Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison

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To review our climbing team’s summit route you can view our LIVE RainOn mapping platform here.

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The Stone Sentinel

“Hi this is Garrett calling in for the Aconcagua expedition, today is Saturday December 17th. Today we did a carry from our Camp 2 up to Camp 3 on Aconcagua. We then returned down to Camp 2 to spend the night. Our plan tomorrow is to move up to Camp 3 and hopefully go for the summit on the next day, the 19th. Everyone is doing well here, had some good weather and a little wind, sunny and warm. We are enjoying the views of the Andes and eating a few good meals. All is well and we will check in tomorrow when we get up to high camp. Fingers crossed for good weather.”

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Audio dispatch by Garrett Madison

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Aconcagua Expedition

Aconcagua Expedition December 17th 2016

Yesterday our Aconcagua climbing team successfully completed a carry to Camp 2. After moving equipment and provisions higher up the mountain they returned to Camp 1 for the night. Target summit date of the Stone Sentinel is December 19. The team is in good condition and excited to climb higher!

After a few relaxing days in Aconcagua base camp and a carry to camp 1 yesterday we are now heading up today to begin our summit ascent. We plan to climb to camp 1 and sleep there tonight and then carry a load tomorrow to camp 2. The following day we plan to move to camp 2 and then evaluate the weather forecast. If all looks good we will carry a load to camp 3, then climb to camp 3 and sleep, going for the summit the following day on December 19th.

Garrett Madison

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Yesterday we arrived at Plaza Argentina base camp after a nice 3-day trek up the Vacas and Horcones valleys. We received perfect weather on our trek and enjoyed barbecues over the open campfire under starry skies. On our last day of the trek we had a couple of river crossings and noticed that the rivers were a little higher than previous seasons because of the large amount of snow on the mountain, this should make for good route conditions higher up on the mountain. Our plan now is to rest and relax for one day to organize our equipment for the higher camps and the day after begin our first load carry to Camp 1. Everyone is doing great and we are hoping this nice weather will hold for us!

Garrett Madison

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“We have enjoyed a couple of nice evenings in Mendoza and Penitentes, savoring the fine Argentine cuisine and gearing up for our climb. We are very excited to begin our trek to Aconcagua base camp today. The trek to base camp is about 36 miles, and we plan to cover this distance over 3 days.  Recently there has been significant snowfall in base camp, so we are preparing for ‘adverse’ conditions when we arrive, but we hope that the typical hot & sunny weather this time of year will return soon.  Our team members Randy, Peter, Erik, Tom, and guides Javier and myself are all looking forward to getting started on the trail and making our way to the mountain.  It’s great to be back here in Argentina and climbing the highest peak outside of Asia, also the highest in the western and southern hemisphere.”

Garrett Madison

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Peter Rosenfeld, Garrett Madison, Tom Dimler, Erik Richardson, Randy Perkins

The Madison Mountaineering climbing team will soon be arriving in Mendoza, Argentina to begin our December expedition of the highest mountain in the western and southern hemispheres.  Aconcagua stands at an impressive 6,962m (22,834 ft.) above sea level and is great training for high altitude peaks in the Himalaya. Please follow our dispatches as we journey from the lush wine region of Mendoza (known for grass fed beef and Malbec) to the arid slopes of the Vacas Valley and up to the base of the Polish Glacier, before making our way to the highest point in the Andes.  Aconcagua is known at times for high winds (100mph) and sub zero temps, as well as the high altitude extreme environment. This mountain is never an easy feat and over half the climbers who attempt are turned back.

The mountain and its surroundings are part of the Aconcagua Provincial Park. The mountain has a number of glaciers. The largest glacier is the Ventisquero Horcones Inferior at about 10 km long, which descends from the south face to about 3,600 m altitude near the Confluencia camp. Our climbers will begin on the eastern side of the mountain, by trekking along the Vacas River to Plaza Argentina base camp. From here we ascend the non technical false polish and then upper Guanacos route to our high camp.

Stay tuned!

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Sid Pattison and Garrett Madison preparing to climb around the world this month!

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