Aconcagua 2019.12 Dispatches

Congratulations to our Aconcagua team members that stood on the summit of South America yesterday! At 6961m / 22,837 ft., Aconcagua is the highest point in both the Western and Southern hemispheres.  They made quick work of climbing up from Plaza Argentina base camp on 12/18 through camps 1, 2, and 3.

Today they made the descent from high camp (5989m / 19,650ft) to Plaza de Mulas base camp (4367m / 14,327ft).  Everyone is safely off the mountain and looking forward to hiking down the Horcones valley tomorrow to the end of the trail and back to civilization with cold drinks and warm showers!

We will have more pictures and details soon.  Merry Christmas to all!

Happy team on the summit!

Happy team on the summit!

Yesterday the Aconcagua team arrived at Plaza Argentine base camp after a three-day trek in from the trailhead.  Their first segment from the Punta de Vacas trailhead (2415m / 7,900ft) covered 7.85 miles and gained 2,091 ft. of elevation gain to the first camp, Las Lenas.  On the second trekking day, they continued 9.43 miles up the Vacas valley from Las Lenas (2864m / 9,400ft) to the beautiful riverside camp of Casa de Piedra (3245m / 10,650ft), gaining another 1,721 ft. of elevation, where they enjoyed their first views of the Aconcagua peak.  The third and final trekking day to Plaza Argentina base camp left Casa de Piedra camp and headed west, first crossing the chilly morning waters of the Vacas river, then proceeding along the Relinchos river for 7 miles gaining 3,360 ft. of elevation.

The team is now enjoying the comforts of the well-appointed base camp, including three meals a day in a dining tent with tables, chairs, plates, and silverware.  Ah, luxury!

With the base camp trekking complete, the team transitions into the climbing phase of the expedition.  They are making preparations for the first carry of supplies and gear to cache at Camp 1.  On these “double carry” moves, the team first carries loads up to the next camp, places in the cache and then descend back down to the previous camp for the night.  The following day, they move up to the next camp with the remainder of their gear.

Our mule support team will transport the team’s trekking specific duffels of gear back to the Punta de Vacas trailhead and then up the Horcones valley to meet them at the Plaza de Mulas base camp on the far side of the mountain when they descend.

As the team moves up on the climb, communications will be very limited and it’s possible that we will not have another update from them until they descent to Plaza de Mulas.

Team at Plaza Argentina Base Camp

Team at Plaza Argentina Base Camp (4200m/13,780ft)

 

Today the December Aconcagua expedition team started the three-day trek into Plaza Argentina base camp.  Beginning at the Punta de Vacas trailhead, they will hike just over 12km and gain about 450m of elevation as they make their way to the first camp at Pampa de Lenas.  It’s a beautiful trek up the Vacas Valley and the team is supported by pack mules that carry most of the gear.  This allows the team to enjoy the days hiking to base camp with comfortable day packs.  On their way today, the team will stop for a picnic-style lunch along the banks of the Vacas River.

Our December expedition to climb South America’s highest peak, Aconcagua has kicked off with the team arriving Mendoza, Argentina.  After enjoying the comforts of the beautiful Diplomatic Hotel and the excellent food of Mendoza, they loaded all their gear into the truck for the ride out of the base of the mountain located in Los Penitentes.  Los Penitentes is a ski area in the Southern Hemisphere winter, but a staging area in the summer to begin the three day trek into base camp.

Everyone is doing great and looking forward to doing some hiking tomorrow!

Enjoying the fine food of Mendoza

Enjoying the fine food of Mendoza

Team loaded up and heading to Los Penitentes

Team loaded up and heading to Los Penitentes

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