I have a few questions about logistics and have contacted a few of the local outfitters, but so far haven't received a response. Perhaps someone here with experience in this area can fill in a few of the blanks.
1. Travel from Mendoza to the trailhead (Laguna Blanca). We will be arriving in Mendoza around 1pm and are hoping to go to Laguna Blanca straightaway. I think our options are:
a. Spend $700+ (2 people) with an outfitter for a round-trip direct transport to Laguna Blanca
b. Take a bus from Mendoza to Barreal, then hire outfitter transport to Laguna Blanca. This would be much cheaper. Is it possible to take a bus directly from Mendoza to Barreal or do all available buses go through San Juan?
c. Hitchhike from Mendoza to Barreal, then hire outfitter transport to Laguna Blanca. This could be faster than taking the bus. How feasible might it be to catch a ride to Barreal within a reasonable timeframe?
2. Stoves/fuel. I have an MSR Whisperlite. I'm thinking I can empty/clean my canister and check it. Is it possible to buy fuel in Mendoza or Barreal?
3. Road status/permission. Is it still "show passport at Las Juntas" or are additional registrations/permissions required?
4. Water. Any thoughts on water availability on approach to the East Face (Caballito) route? We were thinking a filter will be sufficient to reach the glacier.
Any insight greatly appreciated!