OverviewThe east face of Bonete is and easy climb. Most of the way it's a walk-up on sometimes quite steep scree. There are some very short sections of easy scrambling. If the mountain is covered by snow the ascent is much more pleasurable. Early in the normal climbing season the route can be partially covered with penitentes, which is no fun.
The views from the summits are very nice. To the east you have good views of Aconcagua and Manso and former's normal route. Climbing Bonete is actually quite good for getting a hang on how Aco looks like, as you don't see much of it from Plaza de Mulas.
Acclimatization is essential for any peak over 6000m and Bonete is excellent as a last test before heading for Aconcagua. Another aspect is the relative difficulty and exposure. If you feel good scrambling up Bonete and feel comfortable with the exposure on its summit ridge, you'll be fine on Aco as Bonete is both steeper and you'll be more exposed here than on the higher peak.
Count on reaching the summit in 2½-4 hours from Plaza de Mulas and and about half the time back.
Getting ThereLong version here.
Argentina - Mendoza - Puente del Inca - Plaza de Mulas.
When in Plaza de Mulas you can clearly see a huge building to the west. This is Hotel 4372. Walk towards it and if you haven't loaded up with water, do it in the hotel. There are some small creeks close to Bonete, but sometimes they are dry or frozen.
There's a good walking trail past the hotel in direction of Bonete. There are some ups and downs, but it's not hard to find the path. On you left you have Catedral, a 5254 m peak and its southern slopes. From the foot of Bonete you can see a switch back trail up a scree slope, leading straight for the highest point. If snowy, this is the place where you want to put on your crampons.
Route DescriptionFollow the switch back trail towards the rock wall about 200 meters up. If snowy, you can basically climb anywhere up the face, but make sure you don't end up too far south, as you then have to traverse under a steep section.
When you reach the rock wall, look for the trail taking off to the right/north. There are some route finding in between rocks. Walk slightly uphill on a traverse underneath a steep slope, which is full of rocks outcroppings. When the slope gets flatter, look for trails uphill towards the summit ridge.
When you reach it, you'll be surprised how large the drop is on the west side. Be very careful here if it's windy as the ridge is narrow in some places. Follow the ridge along the path of least resistance until you reach the summit, marked with a small metal cross.
[img:16793:alignleft:small:The summit of Bonete]
Essential GearGood shoes/boots.
Warm and wind proof clothing.
Crampons and possibly and ice ax if there's snow on the peak.