Aconcagua Expedition Archives

Yesterday our Aconcagua team had beautiful blue skies and no wind on the mountain and successful completed a carry to Camp 1 at an elevation of 16,100′. After moving gear and food up the mountain our team returned to base camp to rest. All is well and our team is gearing up for  a safe ascent up the mountain. To the top!

To see our teams itinerary for getting to the top visit our page here!

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Audio dispatch from expedition leader Garrett Madison:

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Beautiful weather for our climbers!

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Andes Mountain Range is a beauty!

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Climbers making their way up Aconcagua!

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Magnificent sunset on Aconcagua!

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Our climbing team in Argentina has successfully made it to Aconcagua Base Camp! After yesterday’s trek through the Relinchos Valley our climbers have a chance to enjoy the beautiful views and continue to adjust to the altitude. After a warm dinner at base camp the team enjoyed amazing company and another beautiful night on the mountain. Now resting at an elevation of 13,900′, the team will prepare for the climb to Camp 1 (16’000) tomorrow and their departure from our friendly Argentinian outfitter and staff. Winds have faded with favorable climbing conditions for the summit ascent ahead. With magnificent views of the Aconcagua Provincial Park and the surrounding Andes mountain range, Audrey, Bernd, Ginna, Linda, Walter, Peter, Weny, and Garrett have an exciting expedition ahead of them. Stay tuned on our dispatch page as we watch our Madison Mountaineering team make their way to the summit. To the top!

Fun face: Aconcagua is not just the highest mountain in South America but also the highest in the Western Hemisphere. The mountain dominates the skyline and it is visible 50+ off the coast in the Pacific Ocean on a clear day.

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Audio dispatch from expedition leader Garrett Madison:

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Rocky terrain on Aconcagua! This mountain is arguably the highest non-technical mountain in the world.

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Yesterday our team enjoyed a beautiful day of trekking through the Vacas Valley (8,000′). Weather has been enjoyable with winds gusting throughout the day and temperatures cooling down nicely in the evening. Last night our team enjoyed a traditional open fire barbecue with chicken, steak, fresh salad, and vegetables along the riverside. After a relaxing nights rest at Pampa de Lena camp (9,200′) our team woke up early to cross the river (with river shoes or by mule) through the Relinchos Valley to Plaza Argentina base camp (13,900′). This will be our team’s third day of trekking and they will be greeted shortly by our friendly outfitter and enjoy a warm dinner celebrating their arrival to Aconcagua. Tomorrow our team will rest at base camp and begin to organize the loads of gear to be moved to higher camps on Aconcagua. Members of the team will have the option to participate in a short acclimatization hike to a nearby peak with Garrett. Onward!!

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Audio dispatch from expedition leader Garrett Madison:

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Trekking toward Aconcagua ~ the highest mountain outside of Asia at 6,961m  (22,838ft)!

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After a relaxing breakfast this morning at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Mendoza, our team has finalized their climbing gear and departed for the Aconcagua Park Office. Here our team will obtain their climbing permits. After a afternoon drive to Penitentes, our team arrived at the Ayelen hotel. Here guides Garrett and Wenny will discuss a strategy for the climb and enjoy another beautiful Argentine style dinner, (see below!). Tomorrow our team will begin the trek toward the Vacas Valley near Punta de Vaca (8,000′). Aconcagua, the “Stone Sentinel”, is located in Argentina near the border of Chile, and is the highest mountain outside of Asia. Garrett‘s proven approach for climbing is to properly acclimatize and then attempt the summit with enough extra days built in for bad weather.

For a complete overview of our climbers itinerary please visit our website here.

Awesome pictures here by our expedition leader Garret Madison!

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2016 Madison Mountaineering Aconcagua Climbers (Left to right):

Audrey Cadwallader, Bernd Horsman, Ginna kelly, Linda Wohlgemuth, Walter harris, Peter Horsman, Weny Sanchez, Garrett

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Gear check complete, heading to Penitentes tomorrow!

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Entertainers, artisan vendors, and live music in the park!

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Co guide: Wenny Sanchez

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Wine & Dine

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Garrett paying for Aconcagua permits

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Relaxing first few days of the expedition!

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Park Hyatt Mendoza, Argentina

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Madison Mountaineering 2016 Aconcagua climbers are enroute to Mendoza! Everyone should be arriving by tomorrow and we will do our gear check, team meeting, and welcome dinner before heading off to the mountain! Aconcagua, also known as the “Stone Sentinel”, is located in Argentina near the border of Chile, and is the highest mountain outside of Asia. Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, and team will climb a less traveled route that allows for more acclimatization, and while we may use our ice axe and crampons occasionally, this climb does not require ‘roping up.’ Aconcagua is bounded by the Valle de las Vacas to the north and east and the Valle de los Horcones Inferior to the west and south. 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 3600 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.

To the top!

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Gear begins to arrive into Mendoza, Argentina!

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Madison Mountaineering climbing team finalizing the pre-trip logistics before departure from Mendoza.

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team photo

Our Aconcagua climbers had a wonderful climb of the highest peak in the western hemisphere!  Now all climbers are back in Mendoza and are in transit or preparing to head home to friends, family, and loved ones.  We look forward to returning to Aconcagua in December of 2015 next season!  A big congratulations to Vibeke Andrea Sefland, Sangeeta S Bahl, Diego Pallott, and Bruce Tschider!

Archive photo of Aconcagua summit

Archive photo of Aconcagua summit

I’m happy to report that today our team made it to the top of Aconcagua (22,834′) at approximately 3:30 PM local time.  The conditions today were near perfect, hardly any wind and clear views. It was a long climb up from our high camp, and after about 7 hours we reached the “roof” of South America!  I’m really proud of all our climbers who worked together, supported and encouraged each other throughout this expedition, as Aconcagua is no small mountain!  We have prepared many months for this challenge, and it is a great feeling of accomplishment to have succeeded.  Thanks for following along!

Moving to Aconcagua high camp

Moving to Aconcagua high camp

After a long climb today we are now in high camp and preparing for our summit attempt.  If the good weather continues we may leave early tomorrow morning and set out for the summit.  The views from high camp are amazing, and it feels really good to have come this far.  Everyone is doing well and with a little luck and hard work we could reach the top of the highest mountain in both the western and southern hemisphere sometime tomorrow afternoon.  The last few days have been tough, carrying loads at high altitude, and living the the cold and dry conditions with very high wind speeds, but after coming this far we are determined to give it our best shot! The weather forecast is for the winds to drop over the next few days, so we hope that will hold true.  Wish us luck!!!

Aconcagua Camp 2

Aconcagua Camp 2

Today we climbed up to our Camp 2.  It was a good push but everyone did fine today and now we are resting and taking in the spectacular views!  We are camped alongside another group of climbers and have become good friends with them over the recent days.  Things are looking good and we hope the weather continues to hold out for us. Tomorrow our plan is to take a rest day before making a carry up to our high camp.

Aconcagua Camp 1

Hiking up to Camp 1


After a few days resting in base camp, organizing gear, and carrying loads, we have now moved up to Camp 1.  We have a nice view looking down into the valley below, now we really have begun the climb!  This is probably one of the toughest parts of the mountain as there was a lot of loose rock scrambling on the way up today, higher on the mountain we usually encounter snow & ice, for which we will use our crampons.  Tomorrow we plan to carry up to Camp 2.  We have been fortunate with good weather, and hope it continues!