Aconcagua 2008 picture trip report

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Trip Report
Mendoza, Argentina, South America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jan 7, 2008
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Aconcagua 2008 picture trip report
Created On: Mar 9, 2008
Last Edited On: Apr 9, 2011


Okay – this is not the first trip report about Aconcagua normal route. But I have taken some nice pictures that I hope you will like. So I will tell the story by pictures.

The trip was an organized one from December 22nd 2007 to January 14th 2008 – by the German company Adventure Train, that I can recommend warmly – everything worked well, and it was cheaper than other companies. Therefore we did not get full meals all the time at basecamp but prepare some ourselves with the camping stove – no problem but a good exercise for the high camp.

Mendoza to Penitentes

christmas in Mendoza2007-12-23 – Christmas in Mendoza – this year we have to do without German winter christmas romantic in the South American midsummer season.

morning light above Mendoza2007-12-24: interesting morning light over Mendoza

obtaining the permitEach aspirant for climbing Aconcagua must personally obtain his permit in the Mendoza tourist office

Horocones valleyAfterwards we travel by bus into the mountains: valley of the Horocones river just besides the main road

abandonned railwayTwo nights for acclimatization in a hotel at Penitentes (2580m). The nearby railway is fine for an afternoon walk. Since many years no one risks of getting hit by a train here.

Cerro TolosaIdyllic scene near Penitentes – in the background is Cerro Tolosa (5432m)

at PenitentesUnknown bird at Penitentes

Penitentes ski stationPenitentes ski station (2580m) – behind the building on the right is our acclimatization peak for the next day, Cruz de Cana (3686m)

climbing in line2007-12-25: there we climb in single file. The slopes are still green

still flowersAs long as there are still flowers it is worth taking pictures of them

snow shower comingWe did not expect the approach of this short snow shower

starved to death?Obviously this fellow did not get enough to bite on these meagre slopes

Cruz de CañaSummit of Cruz de Cana, 3686m. At least we are 20m higher than Grossvenediger

Cerro Mario Ardito"Backside" of Cerro Mano Ardito (3655m) – on the other side it falls down to the main road

Interesting evening lightInteresting evening light – left in the shadow is our acclimatization peak Cruz de Canaz.

Punta del Inca to basecamp

Aconcagua south face2007-12-26: there it is – Aconcagua south face as seen from the entrance of the National park at Horocones

obtaining the waste bagAfter having controlled the permit each climber gets his waste bag, that must be returned full at the end of the trip

Still green hereStill green here – nice hiking into Aconcagua National Park

dusty trackThe track gets dusty but remains very easy

horseman in hurryThe only danger comes from meeting horsemen in a hurry

cold welcomeA snow shower welcomes us to Camp Confluenza (3410m)

nice evening lightBut the evening is nice again

Cerro Tolosa2007-12-27: we are on a daytrip in direction to Aconcagua south face. Look back to Cerro Tolosa

interesting plantVery interesting plants are growing here!

glacier  Vadretto de los Horocones Inferior Along impressive glacier "Vadretto de los Horocones Inferior" we are walking long and flat. We are satisfied with having reached an elevation of 4000m – above all Aconcagua hides again behind clouds.

HaloA Halo is a sign for bad weather

snow again… and there is snow again when we come back to Camp Confluenza.

Cerro Mexico (5007m)2007-12-28: long walk to basecamp. Only in the beginning remains the valley as green as on the picture. On the left is Cerro Mexico (5007m)

slipstreamingLandscape has turned into a desert. Adverse winds blow constantly. Best tactic is slipstreaming like in cycling sport!

almost final slopeTaking a rest before (almost) the final ascent to basecamp. For some of our group this ascent was already a hard one.

Christmas at basecampStill Christmas time at basecamp Plaza de Mulaz

Aconcagua from basecampAconcagua as seen from basecamp. The main summit is on the very left.

acclimatization from Bonete to Berlin

stormy clouds2007-12-29: storm clouds above the summit. But today is a rest day for us.

clouds above Cerro BoneteNice clouds also above Cerro Bonete that we intend to climb the following day.

Instant meals comingWe receive gear and food. Instant meals are waiting for us in the next two weeks.

fine weather2007-12-30: great weather for our next acclimatization climb – on Cerro Bonete (5004m)

Penitentes snowCrossing fields of Penitentes snow is a new conquest for an European climber!

route to BoneteLater there are zigzags over slopes of scree, then we traverse beneath the summit to the right and climb it from there via the easy ridge to the highest point.

Aconcagua overview from BoneteOver all the ascent is nice because of this instructive overview of Aconcagua and almost the whole normal route.

desert valleyThe route to basecamp runs through this desert valley

who counts the tents?Basecamp plaza de Mulaz: "Who names the names, who counts the people / Who gather'd here together cordial?" (Friedrich Schiller)

neighbouring valleydesert also in the neighbouring valley on the other side of Cerro Bonete

Bonete summitMan (right) wants to climb mountain (left)

scree surfingAmong the best of these mountains here is the quick and gentle (for the knees) descent through soft scree

Landscape with penitentesLandscape with penitentes (and the Aconcagua hotel) – very bizarre for an European climber used to the alps

bizarre PenitentesPenitentes. The slope from basecamp to Nido de Condores is right in the background

expedition feeling2007-12-31: while the rest of the group does another rest day my partner Johannes and I carry the first loads up to Nido camp. Struggling with the effects of elevation and the heavy backpack for the first time I have the feeling of "doing an expedition".

depot at NidoHaving arrived at Nido we settle a depot in the midst of the nicest campsite. But we should not have done this – three days later the depot was cleared some meters apart to use the site.

Sylvester campfireBack in basecamp. Sylvester evening with campfire

work for the rest2008-01-01: now the others of our group carry loads and themselves to Nido de Condores

rest in basecamp… and we settle back in basecamp

every-morning helicopter2008-01-02: the every-morning helicopter flight affects us today: Marlis suffered a lung oedema and had to be evacuated

lower part of normal route2008-01-03: after another rest day (on that I did a walk to Camp Canada just for better acclimatization) we are again in time with the whole group. Today we climb up to camp Nido for staying the first night there

before camp CanadaBehind this pinnacle is Camp Canada – that is only a place for a rest today.

at camp NidoSettling at camp Nido at 5580m. Views in direction to Chile

calm afternoonIt is a nice, almost calm afternoon on this high plain with great views

evening at Nido de CondoresBut in the evening it is getting very soon very cold!

ranger stationEven here there is a ranger station of the National Park office, placed in this little cabin

to Camp Berlin2008-01-04: today we are climbing up to Camp Berlin. Did not expect these big glaciers at our feet. At least the glacier on the left is named after Paul Guessfeld, first explorer of the Aconcagua mountains in the 19th century.

Camp Berlin (5920m)Camp Berlin (5920m). In case of an emergency these little huts can be used, but a tent is more convenient. Here we settle a depot of gear and food for the summit day.

Berlin to summitLooking from Berlin to the summit. But today we descend to basecamp.

the summit climb

walk to the glacier2008-01-05: rest day. I do only a little walk to the glacier tongue.

global warming?Allegory for global warming? Normally the creek should have its source at the very end of the glacier – but here the whole glacier seems to melt away under the southern sun!

evacuation2008-01-06: starting the summit climb: Unfortunately we are again one man less. We can only beckon to the helicopter with Ralf – our best sportsman – being evacuated with acute pneumonia. At the end of the trip we will meet both evacuees again almost healthy at Penitentes

Cerro Cuerno (5407m)Heiko and Gerlind near camp Canada. Cerro Cuerno (5407m) is still higher

lenticular clouds at NidoHaving reached camp Nido again we don't like these clouds that announce stormy weather. Therefore we decide to attack the summit the very next day and not to lose an important day just for moving to Camp Berlin.

Cerro Mercedario (6700m)Evening light at camp Nido: looking through the close-up lens to Cerro Mercedario (6700m

Sunset at Nido de CondoresSunset before summit day

sunset at Nido de CondoresThe final rays of sun at camp Nido

first sun2008-01-07: we start at 5,30 a.m. in deep night. High layer clouds covers the stars – therefore it is pitch-dark and somehow weird. Weather is different to all the days before and who knows how it develops. But I'm feeling very fine today and am climbing a little bit ahead of the others. First sunshine at about 6000m. On the horizon is left Mercedario (6700m) and in the middle La Ramada (6384m)

long shadowThe long shadow of Aconcagua falls on the world…

Rifugio IndependenciaAt the ruin of Rifugio Independencia (6370m)

Looking northLooking north. Thank god the dark clouds have disappeared

next are comingUli, Gerlind and Heiko are coming next

Gran AccereroAbove Independencia the long traverse of Gran Accerero starts

Looking back to IndependenciaLooking back to Independencia

nice track for cramponsA friendly mountain troll made us this fine track for crampons as a present.

upper part of the traverseAt the upper part of the traverse. In front of the dark rocks starts the steep "Canaletta" slope.

Beginning of CanalettaBeginning of Canaletta. Also here snow and crampons are a big advantage.

the finger"the finger" is the landmark at the beginning of Canaletta

upper part of CanalettaAlready at the upper part of Canaletta. Fine climbing with crampons here. I met Matias (almost namesake to me) from Mendoza here who works as porter during the season and wants to climb the summit today himself. Behind him the route runs as white line to the left to the summit. Now I feel the elevation and rests become longer and I don't feel like taking pictures

summit arrival… until after some final meters via easy blocks I am suddenly standing on the summit plateau. Calm, not to cold and almost no snow here – hard to believe that this is almost 7000m elevation.

sumit view to basecampI have climbed nicer lookout peaks – here you are just too high above the things. Basecamp is marginally hidden at the lower left (Aconcagua hotel can be seen)

Tupungato (6570m)Tupungato (6570) right of the middle can – to some extent - keep up with its elevation

Matias und MathiasMatias und Mathias at 6962m

summit napnever too high for a summit nap

on the summitDone! Also Sabine has reached her big goal.

south summit south faceSouth summit (6930m) an the upper part of impressive south face. That's something for the REAL alpinists!

lenticular cloudsThese clouds will not affect us any more. As a matter of fact it was not stormy until the next but one evening

During descentDuring descent

Back at camp NidoBack at camp Nido. Because two of our group accidentally descended to camp 2 of the Polish route we are expecting a sorrowful night. On the next day things clear and both of them will meet us again safe and sound.

back to civilization

camp Berlin2008-01-08: for clearing a depot I climb a final time to camp Berlin

fully loadedNow down to basecamp, fully loaded, each belt of the backpack in use.

descent to basecampFinally down on the easy track in the scree

back in basecamp2008-01-09: back in basecamp – strange effects of mountain air? ;-)

smellsNow man and material urgently have to air

urgent!Painful waiting at the basecamp toilet…

dove of peaceA dove of peace flies over Aconcagua

Andes glowAndes glow

back to civilization2008-01-10: walking back to civilization

long missedThe first flower after two weeks of desert life is warmly welcomed.

cautionFrozen creeks need caution

stiff breezeToday the wind is in our back. And the mountain pokes its tongue out at them who have to fight against the stiff breeze.

exhaustedThe marsh was too hard for Otto's boots.

water neededGerlind and Karin: not fresh any more but happy…

metarmorphosis#1Also I will soon shift back from mountaineer…

metamorphosis #2… to civil servant

Aconcagua south face2008-01-11: driving to Santiago de Chile. Behind Punta del Inca we enjoy a fine view to Aconcagua south face – left is south summit, right is main summit.

view from Cerro San Cristóbal hill2008-01-12: we use the extra days that we did not need in the mountain for sightseeing in Santiago. 6.500.000 inhabitants – you cannot see the borders of the city even at fine weather from Cerro San Cristóbal hill.

Cerro El Plomo (5424m)View from Cerro Santa Lucia hill to Cerro San Cristóbal hill. Above haze and smog rises Cerro del Plomo (5424m)

wine tastingTasting fine Chilean wine.

aereal view2008-01-14: on the flight back to Europe we are passing Aconcagua just to say goodbye.

acclimatization table

acclimatization tabletableboard about the acclimatization


Post a Comment
Viewing: 21-40 of 53

attimount - Mar 18, 2008 12:16 am - Voted 10/10

Re: Good job.

Somme loco guys told me, just about 10% of the climbers reach the summit in this season.
We found enough snow, to melt water (~4-5h for 8l), not so clean but it was better then nothing.


LonePeakFreak - Mar 17, 2008 12:19 am - Voted 10/10


You've done a great job bringing this mountain into perspective for those of us who have not yet been. Thanks!


marauders - Mar 17, 2008 12:34 am - Voted 10/10


I plan to go attempt this mountain in Jan. 2009. Seeing all of these pics is a great format for someone planning to go. Thanks for posting.


tp - Mar 17, 2008 12:49 am - Hasn't voted


You have some really nice photos here. Makes me want to go to South America sometime.


gimpilator - Mar 17, 2008 12:45 pm - Voted 10/10

Great Job!

Thank you for putting the time and effort into this presentation. It was most encouraging, and may be one day I will go there too.


Mountain_girl - Mar 17, 2008 1:52 pm - Voted 10/10

great report!

I was also wondering if the Adventure Train has a website, since I cannot find it. Thanks, Gosia

Mathias Zehring

Mathias Zehring - Mar 17, 2008 2:27 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: great report!

Hi, the URL for Adventure Train is
In spite of the English name it is a German (precisely: Saxonian) company
The link is also given in the introduction of this report (but not on SP front page)


lingana - Mar 17, 2008 5:03 pm - Voted 10/10

Awesome Report

It was indeed a pleasure to see all the photos, which were in such magnificent story-telling sequence.
I was on Pico de Orizaba in Dec, and had taken my Nikon D80 with the 18-135 mm lens. One thing I regretted is that I kept the camera in the a result of which missed out on some beautiful shots. Next time, I am going to keep it outside...
Congratz once again.


MountainHikerCO - Mar 17, 2008 9:11 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice Picture Show

I enjoyed looking through the pictures. It brought back memories from our climb. Congratulations on your summit. I'm glad your friends have recovered their health.


gabem - Mar 17, 2008 9:35 pm - Hasn't voted

Thank You

For sharing all the pictures. I truly enjoyed looking at them and reading the captions. Congrats!


starship_jen - Mar 17, 2008 9:51 pm - Hasn't voted


I really enjoyed your beautiful photographs! Great job!

Jan Virt

Jan Virt - Mar 18, 2008 5:16 am - Voted 9/10

Great pictures!

Hello Mathias,
you have really nice pictures. For those views, it is always worth carrying something better then just a compact camera :-) I know from my own experience. As I am owner of Nikon D70, I always keep questioning myslef, why am I carrying such an additional weight to the summit, but when I come back and have a look on those pictures, I never regret it. I came from successful climb of Aconcagua via Polish glacier traverse on February, if you want, you can have a look on some pictures on my web,
Wish you more such a great shots and climbs,

Mathias Zehring

Mathias Zehring - Mar 18, 2008 6:51 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great pictures!

congratulations to your for your successful ascent! You've taken some very nice panorama shots, thank you. All the best to you and your next climbing goals, Mathias

Nyle Walton

Nyle Walton - Mar 18, 2008 10:47 am - Hasn't voted

Vicarious climb of Aconcagua

Never have I enjoyed such a sequence of photographs that gives one the vicarious experience of climbing a high mountain. My only disappointment is that the summit of the Americas lacks the ice and snow that makes other high Andean peaks such as Huascaran a far greater alpine or himalayan adventure. Aconcagua reminds me of Kilimanjaro, a big volcanic lump with few technical difficulties. But thank you for letting me enjoy Aconcagua from the comfort of my computer.


mvs - Mar 19, 2008 5:22 am - Voted 10/10


Congratulations Mathias! Looked fun.


Fabrice.Rimlinger - Mar 19, 2008 1:17 pm - Voted 10/10

Simple and instructive

Congratulations for the summit.... and the great report !

William Marler

William Marler - Mar 20, 2008 2:11 am - Voted 10/10

Great shots

Thanks for posting. looks like you had good weather and fun. Cheers William


cugel - Mar 20, 2008 6:42 am - Hasn't voted

Super photos!

Well done Mathias and thanks for posting such fab photos. I was on Aconcagua early 07, got to camp colera about 6000m but it became too windy to go much higher. Your photos brings back great memories for me, I will head back hopefully next year and also perhaps to Mercedario, Tupungato or Ramada. Mendoza is a fine place too. regards M

Mark Doswald

Mark Doswald - Mar 21, 2008 1:44 am - Hasn't voted

Great trip report!

I am here at work now and only can dream about what adventures like this i will get to live out! Cheers for making the summit in such good weather! Nice pictures of the clouds and great pictures of the mountain. You make it look easy!


FabienenCordoba - Aug 8, 2008 10:14 am - Hasn't voted

Very nice photos

I very much enjoyed your photos. Do you think you could send me or post on the website some details of your ascent of the Cruz de Cana? Looks like a good idea to start acclimatizing.



Viewing: 21-40 of 53