MT. ACONCAGUA EXPEDITION - 6962m - 22,841' with Peak Freaks

Local time in Mendoza -

Aconcagua is located in Northern Argentina, in the Province of Mendoza, where the summit is just 12 kilometers from the Chilean border.
The local Aymara Indians, named the mountain Kon Kawa, or snowy Mountain. The Chilean Indians, the Araucanos, named the river on the western side of the Andean range Aconca-Hue, or īt comes for the other side." As the Inca empire influence reached the central Andes, they called the mountain Ancocahua, where the Quechau the root anco means white and cahuac means sentinel. There is considerable evidence that the Incas climbed very high on the mountain. In 1947, a skelton of guanaco, a wild relative of the llama, was found along the ridge between the North and South summit. Archaeologists doubt that this animal would have made it to this elevation on its own! The most significant find occurred in 1985 where a mummy, preserved by cold dry air, was found at 5200m - 17,060' along the southwest ridge of Cerro Pyramidal, a sub peak of Aconcagua. It is thought that there are other undiscovered archaeological sites on Aconcagua that if found, deserve to be left untouched and accurately reported to the authorities for investigation. In 1883, the German Paul Gussfeldt was the first European to attempt the mountain in "full Scottish conditions", with poor equipment, and very little information. Gussfeldt didn't make the summit, but he made it to the 6500m - 21,325' mark. Their expedition was notable because they opened the route for future expeditions. On January, 14th 1897, the Swiss Mathias Zurbriggen was the first to reach the summit solo!
The approach is made through the Valle de Vacas (Vacas Valley ) and then, from Base Camp at Plaza Argentina (4200m - 13,780') we climb the mountain through the route of the Falso Polacos (False Polish). After leaving base camp and arriving at camp 2, we climb diagonally and towards the left, from the rocky area (5900m - 19,357') at the base of the Polish Glacier. You must cross the bottom, flat part of the glacier to arrive at the camp up on the glacier of the Aconcagua. After this, you keep going up to a snow ridge which leads to the summit. The descent is through the same route, returning to Plaza Argentina. This is not a route where you will find technical difficulties, but it is a glacier at the top. On summit day we will be on the glacier wearing crampons and using ice axes.
Teaming up for this expedition are two of the worlds top mountain guides in their select climbing zones. Tim Rippel and Angel Armesto. Angel lives in the foothills of Aconcagua. They have been threatening each other to do a joint climb for the fun of it. Angel well known for his cooking skills and Tim for his social skills, participants are in for a good time and pleasant climb.

Lucille's Itinerary
Date Planned Description Actual
Feb 4 Flying Fly from Edmonton (6:30 AM) to Toronto (12:25 PM) - Air Canada Flight 114
Fly from Toronto (3:50 PM) to Santiago, Chile (8:50 AM) - Lanchile Flight 533
The flight to Chile had an unexpected stop at JFK in New York.
Feb 5 Flying - Arrive in Mendoza Fly from Santiago, Chile (10:35 AM) to Mendoza, Argentina (11:30 AM) - Lanchile Flight 930
Tour Mendoza.
Stay at Hotel Acancagua.
Arrived Mendoza
Day 1 - Feb 6 Reception and stay at Mendoza Our expedition begins in Mendoza, Argentina. This is a lovely little city and wine capital of Argentina. We Hitch up with our guide Tim Rippel to go over our gear items. This is a very important step. Mendoza is the last place available, where we can buy or rent equipment, it is not always easy to find the things you need at the last minute. After this, there is a group meeting and later we go to one of the many fine restaurants for dinner. We get the chance to taste the delicious argentine "asado" (barbecued meat) and wonderful wines from Mendoza. There are numerous alternatives for those who do not drink wine or eat red meats. Dinner in Argentina is usually around 9:00 P.M. As Planned - Met up with team.
Day 2 - Feb 7 Transport from Mendoza to the Hotel in Penitentes. Flexible day: Used for late arrivals etc. If everyone is on schedule we head out to Penitentis today and overnight at the hotel. After all the permissions and permits to climb are in place we jump on board our private transportation and begin our drive through the mountains on the breath taking picturesque road to Villa de Penitentes. At noon we stop in Uspallata, a beautiful Andean Valley where we have lunch in a typical restaurant. After another hour of walking through high mountain roads, we arrive to Villa de Penitentes, where we stay at a Hotel in the mountain. In the afternoon we weigh all the equipment for the mules to get ready for transportation to the base camp. Evening dinner and rest.
If we are behind schedule we will split the first day of climbing staying at Los Lenas instead, hiking only 4 hours the first day instead of 8 hours.
As Planned - Travel to Penitentis
Day 3 - Feb 8 Approaching from Penitentes to Pampa de Leņas. During this day we start the approach from Penitentes to Pampa de Leņas. After a night in Penitentes, we are transported to the entrance of Aconcagua Park. We arrive to Punta de Vacas, where the mule carriers load the equipment on the mules and we walk to the Base Camp. This takes three days. On this day, we trek from 4 to 5 hours up to the camp Pampa de Leņas (2950m - 9,678'). This is where we present our permits to the park rangers, we meet up with our equipment and assemble our tents. After refreshment, we will enjoy a hot dinner. As Planned - Trek to Pampa de Leņas
Day 4 - Feb 9 Acclimatization trek from Pampa de Leņas to Casa de Piedras. In the early morning we prepare our equipment again to be transported by the mules and we have a large breakfast. On this day, we advance towards an intermediate camp, passing through the Quebrada de Vacas, for 6 to 7 hours where you see the Quebrada de Relinchos Stream. This is where we will be able to see the first sight of the Western Face of the Aconcagua. This place is named Casa de Piedras (3240m - 10,630') and is where we spend our last approaching night, from Base Camp. Again we assemble the dormitory tents and then we have dinner. As Planned - Trek to Casa de Piedras
Day 5 - Feb 10 Approach from Casa de Piedras to Plaza Argentina (4200m - 13,780') This is the last day of approaching to Plaza Argentina (4200m - 13,780'). We start trekking for 5 to 6 hours, going through the margins of the Relincho Stream and ascend up the steep slope of the same name, which takes us to Inferior Plaza Argentina. This is where we will be able to see the last native vegetation before climbing towards the glaciers, where Plaza Argentina is placed. At this camp, we meet up with our personal equipment. As Planned - Trek to Base Camp
Day 6 - Feb 11 Rest and Acclimatization Base Camp. At Plaza de Argentina we rest and use the day for acclimatization. This is a good opportunity to get to know the Camp, take a shower and explore the area. We get a medical check-up here and reorganize and review the equipment, prepare the loads, the fuel and food for transportation for the next day. It is here you start to meet climbers from other parts of the world and the Peak Freaks staff that works at the camps. As Planned - Trek Half-Way to Camp 1 and return to Base Camp.
Day 7 - Feb 12 Equipment carrying to Camp 1 (5000m - 16,404') We keep our backpacks as light as possible to be able to gradually adapt to the altitude. This is a hard day, where we will be walking for 6 hours, ascending on easy terrain. This is when we start enjoying the real beauty of high altitude, ascending more and more, obtaining a spectacular view of the Quebrada de Relinchos and the Horcones Valley. As Planned - Carry to Camp 1 and return to Base Camp
Day 8 - Feb 13 Ascent to Camp 1 (5000m - 16,404') We have breakfast and start the ascent to Camp 1. After a 5 to 6 hour walk on easy terrain we arrive at Camp 1 (5000m - 16,404'). We meet with the load that we brought in the day before, assemble the camp and then organize the loads for carrying the following day. We rest and have dinner. Rest at Base Camp
Day 9 - Feb 14 Equipment carrying to Camp 2 (5500m - 18,045') We carry food and fuel to camp 2 (5500m - 18,045'). This exercise helps us keep our backpacks as light as possible to continue with our gradual acclimatization. We return to Camp 1. Have dinner and rest. Ascent to Camp 1
Day 10 - Feb 15 Rest at Camp 1 (5000m - 16,404') This is our rest day to hydrate ourselves and fuel up. We must prepare ourselves mentally, for the final stage. Equipment Carry to Camp 3 and return to Camp 1
Day 11 - Feb 16 Ascent to Camp 2 (5500m - 18,045') After breakfast we start the ascent from Camp 1 to Camp 2 (5500m - 18,045'). We meet with our loads that we brought two days before and reorganize for the next day. We rest and have dinner. Rest at Camp 1
Day 12 - Feb 17 Equipment carrying to Camp 3 - Polish Glacier (5900m - 19,357') We carry food and fuel to camp 3 (5900m - 19,357'). This is a hard day, of about 4 hours of walking, where we ascend on easy terrain. Besides this effort, it is very important to control our body adaptation to the altitude and listen to your bodies response carefully. They will keep a close on us from here on out to make sure everyone is adapting as planned. We return to Camp 2, have dinner and rest. Ascent to Camp 3
Day 13 - Feb 18 Ascent to Camp 3 - Polish Glacier (5900m - 19,357') Early morning, after breakfast and after disassembling our tents, we start to climb for about 4 hrs. The climb is diagonal and towards the left. The lower part of the glacier is flat then steeper to Camp 3. We also plan the final strategies for the last day of ascension to assure success in reaching the summit. We have dinner and rest. Ascent to Summit and return to Camp 3
Day 14 - Feb 19 Summit day (6962m - 22,841') The day begins at 5:00 am. This is the most demanding day of our expedition. We continue up the glacier to a ridge of snow which leads us to the summit at 6962m - 22,841'. This is normally where we would see the first sun rays of the day. We can find strong winds, even on calm days. The Southern Wall of the Aconcagua is considered one of the largest walls of the world. An indescribable sensation takes of total satisfaction takes over as we reach the summit at 6962m - 22,841', where the prize is waiting for us, a 360° view and the experience of overcoming, that you only finally understand once you reach it. After sharing these moments of accomplishment and emotion with our expedition mates, we descend to camp 3, disassemble and move down to Camp 2 Decent to Base Camp - Time to Celebrate! - Party Hats, Beer, Wine, etc.
Day 15 - Feb 20 Reserve Day Reserve Day for acclimatization and weather. Trek to Camp 1 to disassemble and return to Base Camp
Day 16 - Feb 21 Plaza Argentina Return to Base Camp. Special reception and a dinner for celebration. Plaza Argentina to Pampa de Leņas
Day 17 - Feb 22 Plaza Argentina to Pampa de Leņas We have breakfast and start the descent from Plaza Argentina to Pampa de Leņas. After a 7 hrs walk we meet with our equipment. We assemble the tents and enjoy our last night at the mountain. Pampa de Leņas - Punta de Vacas - Mendoza
Day 18 - Feb 23 Pampa de Leņas - Punta de Vacas - Mendoza We have breakfast and then start the descent from Pampa de Leņas to Punta de Vacas, approximately for 3 hours. Transport to the hotel in Mendoza in private vehicles. Farewell dinner. Reserve day for Shopping!!!
Day 19 - Feb 24 Airport Transport from the hotel to the Airport or bus terminal. End of services.
Fly from Mendoza, Argentina (7:10 PM) to Santiago, Chile (8:05 PM) - Lanchile Flight 933
Fly from Santiago, Chile (10:45 PM) to Toronto (11:45 AM) to - Lanchile Flight 532
Feb 25 Home Fly from Toronto (2:40 PM) to Edmonton (4:52 PM) - Air Canada Flight 127 Home