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Advice on Mercedario logistics

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Advice on Mercedario logistics

Postby dankras » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:57 pm

I am planning to head down to Mendoza and then into the Mercedario group. Have an offer to be driven to basically to base camp from Mendoza and back, by José Orviz - the owner of http://www.orviz.com/, for $700 (US dollars). Having lived in Argentina for a bit some time past, that seems a bit steep. Any opinions or suggestions would be helpful. Also, if anyone is heading down there Dec/Jan and wants to split the fare, let me know. Daniel
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Postby Damien Gildea » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:25 pm

Yes, it is steep, but you're paying for the convenience. If you're familiar with Argentina, speak a bit of Spanish and have sufficient time, you don't need it. Buses Mendoza-SanJuan-Barreal are cheap, then in Barreal you can organise a ride when you organise your mules.

Two friends went in the Rio Colorado to the S face a few years ago and paid Anibal Maturano at donmercedario.com.ar around $600-700 dollars for the same service you are enquiring about. So it is expensive, but common.

I may be there in mid-January, but not before.

D
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Postby BeDrinkable » Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:22 pm

Fernando Grajales is about the same and I doubt you would find anyone for cheaper, at least from Mendoza to base camp and back. As Damien pointed out, you can string together other transports (buses etc.) for less.
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Postby Damien Gildea » Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:25 pm

I guess it also depends what route you are doing. For the Rio Colorado (S face etc) you will probably need a mule or two, greatly adding to the cost. But if you are going to the normal N/NE side, you may not need mules as apparently you can now drive all the way to Laguna Blanca in a day from Barreal. You would want to check this out in advance though.

And also, how many in your group? If just one then it is expensive, but the 4WD should fit at least 3 people plus the driver, in which case the speed/convenience may be worth it.

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Postby Jimmie » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:27 pm

We used Anibal. Nice guy and very service minded. Can't remember the price he took though.

Damien Gildea wrote:I guess it also depends what route you are doing. For the Rio Colorado (S face etc) you will probably need a mule or two, greatly adding to the cost. But if you are going to the normal N/NE side, you may not need mules as apparently you can now drive all the way to Laguna Blanca in a day from Barreal. You would want to check this out in advance though.


I agree one doesn't need mules for the N/NE route. When we went there in December 2007 it was possible to drive to the club house at approx 3100m. We spent the night there and then did approx. 300m the next day. Although it's a longish walk we had no problems carrying all our food and gear for 14 days in one go.

From there on the track is steeper. We usually did a combined acclimization trips and gear/food hauling trips one day and then move camp the next day. This was repeated two times before hauling out gear to high camp in one go.

Since one usually does several acclimitization hikes on such ascents, one might as well haul 20-25 kg at the same time. So I don't really see the need for mules.
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Postby gert » Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:12 am

I paid around the same with Anibal last season. The long bus ride would have taken one more day. Time I did not have. With an early pick up in Mendoza you can be in Santa Ana around noon and still make it half way to Pirca de Polacos Base Camp. If you are heading for the Mercedario's Normal Route - it's only one more hour drive compared to Santa Ana.
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Postby dankras » Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:07 pm

Thank you guys. Our original plan was to head to the south face. According to Orviz the road is clear past the shelter, basically to "Quebrada de la guanaquita" bc, which is where he proposed to drive us (there are two of us by the way). We are a strong team and were hoping to head up the South face and then try something else (perhaps a bit more technical), depending how things look. The total time at BC will be 2.5 weeks - I am not sure what route possibilities are from the "Quebrada de la guanaquita," other than the walk ups.
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Postby gert » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:18 pm

If you are looking for technical routes you are better entering the area via Valle de Colorado. Mercedario South Face, Pico Polaco, Cerro Negro, La Mesa might offer what you are seeking for. From the other side of the mountain you could probably only climb Mercedario via the Caballito Glacier if you are looking for something technical. Anyway, best to contact Anibal as he knows the area best.
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Postby dankras » Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:43 pm

Have not been able to get a hold of Anibal from any of the contact info on his website....
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