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Aconcagua 2008 picture trip report

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Aconcagua 2008 picture trip report

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Mendoza, Argentina, South America

Lat/Lon: 32.65076°S / 70.00789°W

Object Title: Aconcagua 2008 picture trip report

Date Climbed/Hiked: Jan 7, 2008

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Summer


Page By: Mathias Zehring

Created/Edited: Mar 9, 2008 / Apr 9, 2011

Object ID: 386686

Hits: 28907 

Page Score: 99.42%  - 110 Votes 

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Okay – this is not the first trip report about Aconcagua normal route. But I have taken some nice pictures that I hope you will like. So I will tell the story by pictures.

The trip was an organized one from December 22nd 2007 to January 14th 2008 – by the German company Adventure Train, that I can recommend warmly – everything worked well, and it was cheaper than other companies. Therefore we did not get full meals all the time at basecamp but prepare some ourselves with the camping stove – no problem but a good exercise for the high camp.

Mendoza to Penitentes

christmas in Mendoza
2007-12-23 – Christmas in Mendoza – this year we have to do without German winter christmas romantic in the South American midsummer season.

morning light above Mendoza
2007-12-24: interesting morning light over Mendoza

obtaining the permit
Each aspirant for climbing Aconcagua must personally obtain his permit in the Mendoza tourist office

Horocones valley
Afterwards we travel by bus into the mountains: valley of the Horocones river just besides the main road

abandonned railway
Two nights for acclimatization in a hotel at Penitentes (2580m). The nearby railway is fine for an afternoon walk. Since many years no one risks of getting hit by a train here.

Cerro Tolosa
Idyllic scene near Penitentes – in the background is Cerro Tolosa (5432m)

at Penitentes
Unknown bird at Penitentes

Penitentes ski station
Penitentes ski station (2580m) – behind the building on the right is our acclimatization peak for the next day, Cruz de Cana (3686m)

climbing in line
2007-12-25: there we climb in single file. The slopes are still green

still flowers
As long as there are still flowers it is worth taking pictures of them

snow shower coming
We did not expect the approach of this short snow shower

starved to death?
Obviously this fellow did not get enough to bite on these meagre slopes

Cruz de Caña
Summit of Cruz de Cana, 3686m. At least we are 20m higher than Grossvenediger

Cerro Mario Ardito
"Backside" of Cerro Mano Ardito (3655m) – on the other side it falls down to the main road

Interesting evening light
Interesting evening light – left in the shadow is our acclimatization peak Cruz de Canaz.

Punta del Inca to basecamp

Aconcagua south face
2007-12-26: there it is – Aconcagua south face as seen from the entrance of the National park at Horocones

obtaining the waste bag
After having controlled the permit each climber gets his waste bag, that must be returned full at the end of the trip

Still green here
Still green here – nice hiking into Aconcagua National Park

dusty track
The track gets dusty but remains very easy

horseman in hurry
The only danger comes from meeting horsemen in a hurry

cold welcome
A snow shower welcomes us to Camp Confluenza (3410m)

nice evening light
But the evening is nice again

Cerro Tolosa
2007-12-27: we are on a daytrip in direction to Aconcagua south face. Look back to Cerro Tolosa

interesting plant
Very interesting plants are growing here!

glacier  Vadretto de los Horocones Inferior
Along impressive glacier "Vadretto de los Horocones Inferior" we are walking long and flat. We are satisfied with having reached an elevation of 4000m – above all Aconcagua hides again behind clouds.

A Halo is a sign for bad weather

snow again
… and there is snow again when we come back to Camp Confluenza.

Cerro Mexico (5007m)
2007-12-28: long walk to basecamp. Only in the beginning remains the valley as green as on the picture. On the left is Cerro Mexico (5007m)

Landscape has turned into a desert. Adverse winds blow constantly. Best tactic is slipstreaming like in cycling sport!

almost final slope
Taking a rest before (almost) the final ascent to basecamp. For some of our group this ascent was already a hard one.

Christmas at basecamp
Still Christmas time at basecamp Plaza de Mulaz

Aconcagua from basecamp
Aconcagua as seen from basecamp. The main summit is on the very left.

acclimatization from Bonete to Berlin

stormy clouds
2007-12-29: storm clouds above the summit. But today is a rest day for us.

clouds above Cerro Bonete
Nice clouds also above Cerro Bonete that we intend to climb the following day.

Instant meals coming
We receive gear and food. Instant meals are waiting for us in the next two weeks.

fine weather
2007-12-30: great weather for our next acclimatization climb – on Cerro Bonete (5004m)

Penitentes snow
Crossing fields of Penitentes snow is a new conquest for an European climber!

route to Bonete
Later there are zigzags over slopes of scree, then we traverse beneath the summit to the right and climb it from there via the easy ridge to the highest point.

Aconcagua overview from Bonete
Over all the ascent is nice because of this instructive overview of Aconcagua and almost the whole normal route.

desert valley
The route to basecamp runs through this desert valley

who counts the tents?
Basecamp plaza de Mulaz: "Who names the names, who counts the people / Who gather'd here together cordial?" (Friedrich Schiller)

neighbouring valley
desert also in the neighbouring valley on the other side of Cerro Bonete

Bonete summit
Man (right) wants to climb mountain (left)

scree surfing
Among the best of these mountains here is the quick and gentle (for the knees) descent through soft scree

Landscape with penitentes
Landscape with penitentes (and the Aconcagua hotel) – very bizarre for an European climber used to the alps

bizarre Penitentes
Penitentes. The slope from basecamp to Nido de Condores is right in the background

expedition feeling
2007-12-31: while the rest of the group does another rest day my partner Johannes and I carry the first loads up to Nido camp. Struggling with the effects of elevation and the heavy backpack for the first time I have the feeling of "doing an expedition".

depot at Nido
Having arrived at Nido we settle a depot in the midst of the nicest campsite. But we should not have done this – three days later the depot was cleared some meters apart to use the site.

Sylvester campfire
Back in basecamp. Sylvester evening with campfire

work for the rest
2008-01-01: now the others of our group carry loads and themselves to Nido de Condores

rest in basecamp
… and we settle back in basecamp

every-morning helicopter
2008-01-02: the every-morning helicopter flight affects us today: Marlis suffered a lung oedema and had to be evacuated

lower part of normal route
2008-01-03: after another rest day (on that I did a walk to Camp Canada just for better acclimatization) we are again in time with the whole group. Today we climb up to camp Nido for staying the first night there

before camp Canada
Behind this pinnacle is Camp Canada – that is only a place for a rest today.

at camp Nido
Settling at camp Nido at 5580m. Views in direction to Chile

calm afternoon
It is a nice, almost calm afternoon on this high plain with great views

evening at Nido de Condores
But in the evening it is getting very soon very cold!

ranger station
Even here there is a ranger station of the National Park office, placed in this little cabin

to Camp Berlin
2008-01-04: today we are climbing up to Camp Berlin. Did not expect these big glaciers at our feet. At least the glacier on the left is named after Paul Guessfeld, first explorer of the Aconcagua mountains in the 19th century.

Camp Berlin (5920m)
Camp Berlin (5920m). In case of an emergency these little huts can be used, but a tent is more convenient. Here we settle a depot of gear and food for the summit day.

Berlin to summit
Looking from Berlin to the summit. But today we descend to basecamp.

the summit climb

walk to the glacier
2008-01-05: rest day. I do only a little walk to the glacier tongue.

global warming?
Allegory for global warming? Normally the creek should have its source at the very end of the glacier – but here the whole glacier seems to melt away under the southern sun!

2008-01-06: starting the summit climb: Unfortunately we are again one man less. We can only beckon to the helicopter with Ralf – our best sportsman – being evacuated with acute pneumonia. At the end of the trip we will meet both evacuees again almost healthy at Penitentes

Cerro Cuerno (5407m)
Heiko and Gerlind near camp Canada. Cerro Cuerno (5407m) is still higher

lenticular clouds at Nido
Having reached camp Nido again we don't like these clouds that announce stormy weather. Therefore we decide to attack the summit the very next day and not to lose an important day just for moving to Camp Berlin.

Cerro Mercedario (6700m)
Evening light at camp Nido: looking through the close-up lens to Cerro Mercedario (6700m

Sunset at Nido de Condores
Sunset before summit day

sunset at Nido de Condores
The final rays of sun at camp Nido

first sun
2008-01-07: we start at 5,30 a.m. in deep night. High layer clouds covers the stars – therefore it is pitch-dark and somehow weird. Weather is different to all the days before and who knows how it develops. But I'm feeling very fine today and am climbing a little bit ahead of the others. First sunshine at about 6000m. On the horizon is left Mercedario (6700m) and in the middle La Ramada (6384m)

long shadow
The long shadow of Aconcagua falls on the world…

Rifugio Independencia
At the ruin of Rifugio Independencia (6370m)

Looking north
Looking north. Thank god the dark clouds have disappeared

next are coming
Uli, Gerlind and Heiko are coming next

Gran Accerero
Above Independencia the long traverse of Gran Accerero starts

Looking back to Independencia
Looking back to Independencia

nice track for crampons
A friendly mountain troll made us this fine track for crampons as a present.

upper part of the traverse
At the upper part of the traverse. In front of the dark rocks starts the steep "Canaletta" slope.

Beginning of Canaletta
Beginning of Canaletta. Also here snow and crampons are a big advantage.

the finger
"the finger" is the landmark at the beginning of Canaletta

upper part of Canaletta
Already at the upper part of Canaletta. Fine climbing with crampons here. I met Matias (almost namesake to me) from Mendoza here who works as porter during the season and wants to climb the summit today himself. Behind him the route runs as white line to the left to the summit. Now I feel the elevation and rests become longer and I don't feel like taking pictures

summit arrival
… until after some final meters via easy blocks I am suddenly standing on the summit plateau. Calm, not to cold and almost no snow here – hard to believe that this is almost 7000m elevation.

sumit view to basecamp
I have climbed nicer lookout peaks – here you are just too high above the things. Basecamp is marginally hidden at the lower left (Aconcagua hotel can be seen)

Tupungato (6570m)
Tupungato (6570) right of the middle can – to some extent - keep up with its elevation

Matias und Mathias
Matias und Mathias at 6962m

summit nap
never too high for a summit nap

on the summit
Done! Also Sabine has reached her big goal.

south summit south face
South summit (6930m) an the upper part of impressive south face. That's something for the REAL alpinists!

lenticular clouds
These clouds will not affect us any more. As a matter of fact it was not stormy until the next but one evening

During descent
During descent

Back at camp Nido
Back at camp Nido. Because two of our group accidentally descended to camp 2 of the Polish route we are expecting a sorrowful night. On the next day things clear and both of them will meet us again safe and sound.

back to civilization

camp Berlin
2008-01-08: for clearing a depot I climb a final time to camp Berlin

fully loaded
Now down to basecamp, fully loaded, each belt of the backpack in use.

descent to basecamp
Finally down on the easy track in the scree

back in basecamp
2008-01-09: back in basecamp – strange effects of mountain air? ;-)

Now man and material urgently have to air

Painful waiting at the basecamp toilet…

dove of peace
A dove of peace flies over Aconcagua

Andes glow
Andes glow

back to civilization
2008-01-10: walking back to civilization

long missed
The first flower after two weeks of desert life is warmly welcomed.

Frozen creeks need caution

stiff breeze
Today the wind is in our back. And the mountain pokes its tongue out at them who have to fight against the stiff breeze.

The marsh was too hard for Otto's boots.

water needed
Gerlind and Karin: not fresh any more but happy…

Also I will soon shift back from mountaineer…

metamorphosis #2
… to civil servant

Aconcagua south face
2008-01-11: driving to Santiago de Chile. Behind Punta del Inca we enjoy a fine view to Aconcagua south face – left is south summit, right is main summit.

view from Cerro San Cristóbal hill
2008-01-12: we use the extra days that we did not need in the mountain for sightseeing in Santiago. 6.500.000 inhabitants – you cannot see the borders of the city even at fine weather from Cerro San Cristóbal hill.

Cerro El Plomo (5424m)
View from Cerro Santa Lucia hill to Cerro San Cristóbal hill. Above haze and smog rises Cerro del Plomo (5424m)

wine tasting
Tasting fine Chilean wine.

aereal view
2008-01-14: on the flight back to Europe we are passing Aconcagua just to say goodbye.

acclimatization table

acclimatization table
tableboard about the acclimatization


south summit south faceCerro Mercedario (6700m)lenticular clouds at NidoAconcagua overview from BoneteCerro Mexico (5007m)first sundove of peace
Andes glowthe fingerAconcagua from basecampAconcagua south faceevening at Nido de Condoresbizarre PenitentesTupungato (6570m)
[ View Gallery - 99 More Images ]


[ Post a Comment ]
Viewing: 21-40 of 53 « PREV 1 2 3 NEXT » 

attimountRe: Good job.


Voted 10/10

Somme loco guys told me, just about 10% of the climbers reach the summit in this season.
We found enough snow, to melt water (~4-5h for 8l), not so clean but it was better then nothing.
Posted Mar 18, 2008 12:16 am



Voted 10/10

You've done a great job bringing this mountain into perspective for those of us who have not yet been. Thanks!
Posted Mar 17, 2008 12:19 am



Voted 10/10

I plan to go attempt this mountain in Jan. 2009. Seeing all of these pics is a great format for someone planning to go. Thanks for posting.
Posted Mar 17, 2008 12:34 am



Hasn't voted

You have some really nice photos here. Makes me want to go to South America sometime.
Posted Mar 17, 2008 12:49 am

gimpilatorGreat Job!


Voted 10/10

Thank you for putting the time and effort into this presentation. It was most encouraging, and may be one day I will go there too.
Posted Mar 17, 2008 12:45 pm

Mountain_girlgreat report!


Voted 10/10

I was also wondering if the Adventure Train has a website, since I cannot find it. Thanks, Gosia
Posted Mar 17, 2008 1:52 pm

Mathias ZehringRe: great report!

Mathias Zehring

Hasn't voted

Hi, the URL for Adventure Train is
In spite of the English name it is a German (precisely: Saxonian) company
The link is also given in the introduction of this report (but not on SP front page)
Posted Mar 17, 2008 2:27 pm

linganaAwesome Report


Voted 10/10

It was indeed a pleasure to see all the photos, which were in such magnificent story-telling sequence.
I was on Pico de Orizaba in Dec, and had taken my Nikon D80 with the 18-135 mm lens. One thing I regretted is that I kept the camera in the backback...as a result of which missed out on some beautiful shots. Next time, I am going to keep it outside...
Congratz once again.
Posted Mar 17, 2008 5:03 pm

MountainHikerCONice Picture Show


Voted 10/10

I enjoyed looking through the pictures. It brought back memories from our climb. Congratulations on your summit. I'm glad your friends have recovered their health.
Posted Mar 17, 2008 9:11 pm

gabemThank You


Hasn't voted

For sharing all the pictures. I truly enjoyed looking at them and reading the captions. Congrats!
Posted Mar 17, 2008 9:35 pm



Hasn't voted

I really enjoyed your beautiful photographs! Great job!
Posted Mar 17, 2008 9:51 pm

Jan VirtGreat pictures!

Jan Virt

Voted 9/10

Hello Mathias,
you have really nice pictures. For those views, it is always worth carrying something better then just a compact camera :-) I know from my own experience. As I am owner of Nikon D70, I always keep questioning myslef, why am I carrying such an additional weight to the summit, but when I come back and have a look on those pictures, I never regret it. I came from successful climb of Aconcagua via Polish glacier traverse on February, if you want, you can have a look on some pictures on my web, www.jan-virt.com/fotogalerie_e.htm
Wish you more such a great shots and climbs,
Posted Mar 18, 2008 5:16 am

Mathias ZehringRe: Great pictures!

Mathias Zehring

Hasn't voted

congratulations to your for your successful ascent! You've taken some very nice panorama shots, thank you. All the best to you and your next climbing goals, Mathias
Posted Mar 18, 2008 6:51 pm

Nyle WaltonVicarious climb of Aconcagua

Nyle Walton

Hasn't voted

Never have I enjoyed such a sequence of photographs that gives one the vicarious experience of climbing a high mountain. My only disappointment is that the summit of the Americas lacks the ice and snow that makes other high Andean peaks such as Huascaran a far greater alpine or himalayan adventure. Aconcagua reminds me of Kilimanjaro, a big volcanic lump with few technical difficulties. But thank you for letting me enjoy Aconcagua from the comfort of my computer.
Posted Mar 18, 2008 10:47 am



Voted 10/10

Congratulations Mathias! Looked fun.
Posted Mar 19, 2008 5:22 am

Fabrice.RimlingerSimple and instructive


Voted 10/10

Congratulations for the summit.... and the great report !
Posted Mar 19, 2008 1:17 pm

William MarlerGreat shots

William Marler

Voted 10/10

Thanks for posting. looks like you had good weather and fun. Cheers William
Posted Mar 20, 2008 2:11 am

cugelSuper photos!


Hasn't voted

Well done Mathias and thanks for posting such fab photos. I was on Aconcagua early 07, got to camp colera about 6000m but it became too windy to go much higher. Your photos brings back great memories for me, I will head back hopefully next year and also perhaps to Mercedario, Tupungato or Ramada. Mendoza is a fine place too. regards M
Posted Mar 20, 2008 6:42 am

Mark DoswaldGreat trip report!

Mark Doswald

Hasn't voted

I am here at work now and only can dream about what adventures like this i will get to live out! Cheers for making the summit in such good weather! Nice pictures of the clouds and great pictures of the mountain. You make it look easy!
Posted Mar 21, 2008 1:44 am

FabienenCordobaVery nice photos


Hasn't voted

I very much enjoyed your photos. Do you think you could send me or post on the website some details of your ascent of the Cruz de Cana? Looks like a good idea to start acclimatizing.


Posted Aug 8, 2008 10:14 am

Viewing: 21-40 of 53 « PREV 1 2 3 NEXT »