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.