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Ridge Traverse

 
Ridge Traverse

Page Type: Route

Location: Mendoza, Argentina, South America

Lat/Lon: 33.0121°S / 69.4466°W

Object Title: Ridge Traverse

Route Type: Scramble or walk on snow and ice

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: Walk-up

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes
 

 

Page By: Corax

Created/Edited: May 15, 2005 / Mar 23, 2006

Object ID: 165072

Hits: 2163 

Page Score: 71.06%  - 1 Votes 

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Approach

A short repetition of what you can find on the main page under "Getting There":
  • Mendoza - Potrerillos by bus.
  • Potrerillos - Vallecitos Ski Resort by minibus or by hitchhiking. 3000m.
  • Walk along the main path to Las Vegas Camp, an excellent place to pitch a tent. 3200m.
  • You can also camp at Piedras Grandes, which is at 3500m.
  • Gravel walk to Camp Salto at 4300m.
  • Scramble to Camp Hollada at 4650m.

    Route Description

    At camp Hollada you are at the foot of Cerro Lomas Amarillos and to start with you follow the paths at the foot of this mountain towards the ridge on your left. You should aim at the lowest point of this ridge. There are two alternative paths leading up the sometimes steep and tiring slope. Lots of loose scree. When at the ridge, you'll be very close to "The Golden "Rocks" a part of the ridge with very strong yellow colored rocks.
    The long ridge in front of you will take you to Portozuelo Vallecitos/Plata, the saddle in between the two main peaks in this part of Cordon del Plata. The path is always easy to find, even if it's switch-backing quite a lot.

    At the Portozuelo (saddle) it's a smart move to take a GPS reading as the turnoff down the ridge can be very hard to find if the weather gets bad. This is the only place on the long ridge you can ascend/descend without any technical gear. The normal route to (Cerro) Plata circles around a small bowl and then on the left hand side of Platita's slopes. This well travelled path is also the way to reach Platita's summit, if you want to go for the normal route.

    Walk along the ridge until you're under the face, then aim for the highest point. You can either walk close to the left hand edge of the face for better views or 30-50 meters from it for a slightly easier walk. It doesn't get steep until you're quite high on the slopes. Watch out for loose rocks. When you reach the first false summit, you can see the next in front of you. The edge of the ridge is precarious and you better not walk to close to it as the combination of loose gravel and corniche buildning is quite nasty. Pass two more false summits. You should now have clear views of Plata on you right and a the summit of Platita is not far off. When reaching what you think is the summit, you probably be uncertain if the next bump on the summit is even higher - it is, even if the first one looks higher. The difference in elevation is 9m between summit one and two.

    Essential Gear

    Sturdy boots, warm clothing, walking sticks, GPS, water, some snacks and if snowy; crampons.
    The latter you'll need regardless if you plan to go for the Plata directly after. See below.

    Directly to Plata after Platita

    The normal route on Plata is far away on the horizon ridge and a more interesting and challenging is to go straight from Platita to Plata. Walk down into the valley which separates the two peaks. The ridge on your left is a hard walk in deep snow towards Plata's summit. The huge snow field in between is deceptive. It doesn't look steep, but the curves of the ridges on the side probably makes you misjudge the gradient. This is a place where you really need crampons. Approximately 50m up from the valley floor you'll hit blue ice, sometimes covered with snow. Hard stuff in places. If you don't want to be on the ice too long, turn slightly right and aim for the normal route ridge. If you like ice, continue straight towards the summit. The little red dot you have seen all the way from the summit of Platita turns out to be a helicotper which crashed very close to the summit of Plata. This summit is marked with three crosses.

    Images

    The views from the summit...