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Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

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Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby JDinPDX » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:15 am

So, I'm planning on flying down late Jan/early Feb, and I'm a little fuzzy on the details surrounding travel. A couple thoughts/concerns as they come to me:

I can fly into Santiago for about $1k, then take a bus to Mendoza, whereas the cheapest flight I could find directly into Mendoza was $1,600+.

*One thing I've heard is that you cannot get into Chile without A) A return home ticket, and B) Some sort of reciprocity fee just to leave the terminal? Can anybody shed some light on this? I'm not opposed to flying into Argentina, I just want to get through this phase of the trip with minimal hassles.*

*The flights I'm looking at into Santiago all arrive around 9am. Would this leave me enough time to get a bus to Mendoza and take care of my permits on the same day of arrival, or would I have to spread the permit errands out to the following day? The ideal situation would be to land in Santiago, immediately hop on a bus to Mendoza, get my errands done, and then get a ride to the park entrance the following day. Can this be done, or is it too ambitious?*

Any and all advice is much appreciated =)

Jonathan
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby Damien Gildea » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:25 am

JDinPDX wrote:... Some sort of reciprocity fee just to leave the terminal?


Yes, turn left at the bottom of the stairs when you arrive. USD$160 for Americans.

I've done the Santiago - Mendoza bus route five or six times at least. It's a nice ride, but next time I'd fly - so much quicker and easier.

If you have even the most basic Spanish, try booking SthAm internal flights directly through the LanChile website (Chile version), not the US version. If you do take the bus, the buses from the bigger companies can be pre-booked online now. They're nice buses, not Greyhound etc.

... land in Santiago, immediately hop on a bus to Mendoza, get my errands done, and then get a ride to the park entrance the following day. Can this be done, or is it too ambitious?


Way too ambitious. The bus is 7-9hrs Santiago-Mendoza, depending how long you have to wait at the border customs. The buses don't leave all day - either in the morning or later in the evening. If you arrived at 0900 and got a flight to Mendoza, say, 1100, you could get your permit that afternoon and get a ride out to Puenta del Inca the next day. The office in Mendoza has limited hours for getting permits, though the process only takes an hour or so all up.

Why the rush? Mendoza is a great city, beautiful countryside. You'll want at least a few hours to buy food, fuel, organise a mule etc. if not a day.
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby Scott » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:14 pm

Did you check booking the flight separately Santiago to Mendoza? An online search says that a round trip ticket from Santiago to Mendoza is $114.58 on Aerolineas Argentinas and $124.58 on LAN. Why not book a ticket to Santiago and then a separate ticket to Mendoza?
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby JDinPDX » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:41 pm

Damien, thanks for the reality check! 7-9 hour bus ride?!? I thought it was more like 3-4, so that's news to me. Honestly the last thing I think I"ll want to do is get on a bus for 9 hours immediately following a 9 hour flight. So now flying directly into Mendoza is more of what I'm thinking. And you're right; I had a feeling that schedule was too ambitious. But knowing me, I'll want to get cracking as soon as I get there. I was planning on staying for several days to explore Mendoza and wherever else after the climb.

Scott, thanks for the flight beta. I hadn't checked into booking the flights separately, but that price is definitely manageable. If I remember correctly, the $1600 I was quoted were flights that connected through Buenos Aires, not Santiago.
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby Damien Gildea » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:07 am

My Chilean friends get to Arenales, out of Mendoza, in 4hrs from Santiago, but that's driving their own car, fast. Buses, big or small, just take longer. I've done it in 6hrs or so but it's also taken up to 10hrs. I've spent anything from 30min to 2hrs at Arg customs.

Definitely check out buying SCL-Mendoza separately, but this may mean you will not avoid the $160 RecFee at SCL, which I think you would do if you had a direct transfer on one ticket. LAN is more reliable and comfortable than Aerolineas, if that helps. USD$110-130 is normal for SCL-Mendoza. Flying direct also saves you a $15 cab ride from the airport into town for the bus, plus schlepping around all your luggage in the process.
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby JDinPDX » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:16 pm

Hey guys,

Getting closer to departure. I appreciate the advice thus far, and I pretty much got my travel plans dialed in. I'm leaving Portland on Jan. 22, connecting in Buenos Aires, and arriving directly into Mendoza on the 23rd. I also took care of the reciprocity fee ($160), which was pretty convenient online. Now I'm trying to determine how much fuel I'll need. I've seen group expedition data that says they brought way too much fuel, but not much in the way of solo expedition data. Obviously a bit too much is better than not enough. I'm using my XKG-EX stove and I have two 30oz. MSR canisters + one 11oz. canister that I'll be bringing. Can anybody shed some light on an approximate amount of fuel?

J
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby Damien Gildea » Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:06 am

JDinPDX wrote:... one 11oz. canister that I'll be bringing. Can anybody shed some light on an approximate amount of fuel?


To bring the plane down? Not sure. An 11oz canister might explode nicely, if you can get it through security, but C4, Semtex or some kind of liquid toothpaste-shampoo bomb might work better. Maybe ask over on the Al Quaeda Forum? :-)

Kidding aside, don't bother trying to take a canister. Plenty available in Mendoza.

Fuel use will depend on a few things. I've used a Primus Multifuel and old MSR XGK plus a Jetboil (piezo ignition useless above 5000m). I'd normally go on around 150ml per person per day, but:
- will you melt snow? there are snow patches at Nido Condores, sometimes pools of water, but
- will you boil to purify? or use tabs or iodine or Steripen? i found the cold water really drained the batteries on my Steripen. Boiling is a pita, so the other options are better, but some do both - which adds fuel needs
- what you taking for main meals? you want something that just needs hot water added, not to be actually boiled
- how is your appetite and hydration at altitude? do you eat very little, or are you good for big meals? do you need 5 litres a day, or only 3?
- will you eat any meals in the 'restaurant' tents at Mulas BC? Poor food, expensive, but easy and less to carry.

The outdoor stores in Mendoza sell white gas either in old soda bottles or new bottles, around $8 @ litre(?). Three bottles should be plenty for 15 days, but with variations depending on all the above points.
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby JDinPDX » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:28 am

Hey Damien, thanks for another response.

1) Are you saying you wouldn't take empty canisters in your checked baggage? I've flown a few times with empty fuel canisters in my luggage a few times, and never had a problem. They had of course been washed out thoroughly, and easily spottable in my bag. I've never taken them on an international flight though........but I'm not exactly rolling in disposable income, so I'm still going to pack them, and if they take them, I guess that'll just be a huge bummer that I'll have to deal with upon arrival.

2) I'm going to melt snow when there is no water source available. I don't plan on boiling to purify, since I have more than enough purification tablets.

3) My main meals are like you said, only needing hot water. I have no plans to be making gourmet meals for myself =). I thrive on the basics - freeze dried meals, protein bars, energy snacks, etc.

4) My appetite at altitude obviously decreases to a point where I have to force myself to eat at about 5,000m and higher. I've found that one large freeze dried meal and a few snacks are more than enough for one day. Hydration is of utmost importance to me, so I plan on drinking at least a 4 liters a day.

5) As far as buying meals at base camp, I would reserve that for emergency type situations. Like I said, I don't have a ton of money to spend on what I would consider luxuries like that. But I will keep that option open should I start to run light on food prematurely.
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby JDinPDX » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:37 am

Actually I just stumbled across some solo expedition data where the guy took exactly the amount I was thinking about taking (71oz). So maybe we'll just start with that.
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby chickentikka » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:30 am

What route are you on?

Have you figured out your mule provider / basecamp toilets situation yet? Cost?

I'm planning on heading over at the end of the month and doing it solo on normal route. Haven't booked anything yet though.
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby Damien Gildea » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:21 pm

JD, the term 'canister' refers to gas canisters - pressurized propane/butane gas. You are referring to fuel bottles, which should be fine if washed out and not packed screwed to the pump etc.
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby JDinPDX » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:22 am

Damien Gildea wrote:JD, the term 'canister' refers to gas canisters - pressurized propane/butane gas. You are referring to fuel bottles, which should be fine if washed out and not packed screwed to the pump etc.


Semantics! =)
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby JDinPDX » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:25 am

chickentikka wrote:What route are you on?

Have you figured out your mule provider / basecamp toilets situation yet? Cost?

I'm planning on heading over at the end of the month and doing it solo on normal route. Haven't booked anything yet though.


-Going to be going solo on the standard (normal) route
-No I have not selected a mule provider yet. Still trying to determine if I want to hire a mule provider at all. I've heard mixed things.
-If you're thinking about starting planning an Aconcagua expedition at the end of this month, I recommend starting like.....last year. =)
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby chickentikka » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:35 pm

Yeah yeah, Says the guy who hasn't made up his mind about mules either and providers. I'm planning it now, but I need to be sure I can get away from work still. I'm not committing yet for that reason.

I've been planning this for awhile now. I'll also be coming directly from 4200 meters at Kashmir, so I should be ready. Got all my equipment ready.

Running the Mumbai, Marathon on 21st and heading soon after that, will go skiing in Kashmir either before or after the marathon depending on snow conditions and head immediately to S. America - flying into mendoza via BA.

I'm sure we'll pass one another at PDM. Look for an Orange EV2 tent with an Indian flag with a non-Indian guy.

I'm taking 2.5 liters of fuel. I've read that you can usually buy fuel off of people coming down the mountain pretty easily. Worst comes to worst, you can buy it from one of the providers.

For the plane, leave your fuel bottles empty, cleaned, and with the cap off. Also not a bad idea to put a note on them saying, "Dear TSA, these bottles are empty and clean and completely safe and permissiable to fly according to your own standards. Please do not confiscate them."

I will take a mule in with enough food for an army. I'm betting you can barter with other soloists for food diversity. I'm low maintenance too which is one reason why I'm doing it solo.

Food List -
Freeze dried meals. Protein shakes. Sugary stuff. GU. All that jazz
Gonna buy a bunch of aged cheese
Salami type meat
Tortillas
Eggs
Butter
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Re: Aconcagua Logistics: Need a little advice

Postby JDinPDX » Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:59 pm

Thanks for all the advice, folks! Flying out of Portland bright and early tomorrow; should be on the approach by Thursday/Friday. I'll post a summary upon my return. See ya! =)
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