Climbed Aconcagua solo unsupported out of season in March / April 2002 by the normal route. High winds during the ascent, Viento Blanco on my summit day, wind reached 100+ km/h, -30°C (-55°C with windchill).
Planned to ascend the PG but the weather had other plans. Summited via the normal route instead.
Wow, this was my summit day 2016-1-13. There was a large group. I think half the hikers turned around at Portozuelo Del Viento. The section to La Cueva was the most wind I've ever experienced. After that the Canaleta wasn't so bad, really high though.
Coming off the summit I came upon a climber in distress. She did not know where her camp was. I guided her to it. I spent 16 hours above 20,000 feet.
Sorry about your luggage..... but with this season´s "El Niño", summit windows were very scarce throughout all December 2015 and first half of January 2016. After that, conditions were much milder. I managed to summit solo on January 17, on my 18th day there (my last chance, since I needed 2 extra days to descend before my park stay expired).
Oh my goodness! We are impressed. We attempted Jan 13 without success and are debating about returning this December. Thank you for the information.
My airline misplaced my bag and I only received it 8 days later. It was packed with all my mountaineering gear and food for the whole trip. I spent part of my lost time in Vallecitos (lovely spot!), but I had to constantly come back down to check if my bag had arrived, so I only bought myself a couple days of acclimatization there.
I set off for Aconcagua with significantly less time to make the summit, but things were looking good. The weather was amazing and there was no snow on the ground when I arrived.
Day 1. I walked to Plaza de Mulas pretty quickly (I hired a mule service to get my stuff there quicker).
Day 2. Rest day.
Day 3. I climbed little Cerro Bonete for acclimatization.
Day 4. I carried my gear to Nido de Condores and came back to sleep in Plaza de Mulas.
Day 5. I went to sleep at Plaza Canada, but I sort of regretted not going straight for Nido de Condores. It's really not that far. I didn't want to risk getting sick.
Day 6. I finally went to sleep at Nido de Condores and reunited with the bag I had stashed there. I was watching the weather predictions closely, asking the park rangers and other climbers, but there's always a bit of a delay in the info and the predictions keep changing from day to day. No groups were planning on attempting the summit the next day because it looked like it was going to be too windy. Most groups were going to make an attempt the day after, when it was going to be less windy.
Day 7. I wanted to use that day to do an acclimatization hike. I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a perfect starry sky looking back at me and felt like the weather wasn't so cold. It crossed my mind that this might be a good day to summit after all. But I didn't want to be the only one attempting the summit, and everyone was sleeping, so I decided to stick to my plan: do an acclimatization hike today and go for the summit tomorrow with the groups and their guides. I left around 6 AM and reached Independencia around 11 AM. There I met the only people I saw all day. They were turning back on their last attempt to reach the summit because they were tired. The path was completely snow-free and thus very easy to follow. It was very windy though and it was starting to snow. Little did I know, the snow was never going to stop and there would be no more occasion to have a clear path or a clear view. By the time I got down to Nido de Condores, there was 10-15 cm of snow accumulated on the ground.
Day 8. I woke up early with the intention of following some of the groups all the way to the summit. There was so much snow on the ground that the guides couldn't find the path. They made several back and forth attempts and eventually a guide from another group found the way. We were knee deep in loose powder, it wasn't hard to walk, but there was no way to see the path. We took a break in Colera hiding in the emergency shelter. The sun rose and it revealed a complete white out. We were in a cloud with strong wind and snow falling horizontally. I couldn't even see the tents that were a couple meters away. Everyone turned around and there was no way I could find the path on my own, so after waiting to make sure no one was going up, I went down too.
Day 9-10-11. The next day, everyone deserted Nido de Condores. Weather prospects were bad. I stayed just in case. The snow storm went on for several days indeed. I had to block all the vents in my tent because it wind was continuously blowing snow inside. I had fun though. It was white all around every day. I was the only tent left in Nido de Condores, but the park rangers were there in their cabin, so I felt safe and got to hang out with them quite a bit. They were extremely nice and I got to practice my Spanish. Eventually I was out of time and there was no news of anyone attempting the summit any time soon.
Day 12. That morning I dug up my tent, packed everything (still in a blowing snow storm). Going down to Plaza de Mulas with my double load full of ice was an interesting experience. There was thigh high snow on an icy ground and wind that occasionally pushed me to the ground. I kept falling down and I exerted myself more than when I was going up. Fortunately, I reached Plaza de Mulas on time to give my load to the mules. I was able to continue to Puente del Inca that same day and even found a transport to go back to Mendoza that night. I went from Nido de Condores to Mendoza in one day and my flight was the next morning, that's how close I was cutting it!
Sorry for the long climber's log. My trip was not as I expected. I had planned for a lofty 20 days after all. The delay with my bag and the snow storm meant I couldn't go to the summit in the end. I still had fun though. It felt good to be in the mountains.
Long summit day but pushed thru mentally reaching the top with extraordinary level of energy starting at 200 feet from the summit. I've always told other it takes 90% mental and 10% physical which held true on this glorious day standing on the highest point in the world outside the Himalayan ranges.
It's a looooong slog. Not the world's prettiest mountain, but well worth the effort. The air is thin up there!
Got super lucky with weather and rapid acclimation. Made it to the summit on our 11th day at a fairly leisurely pace. from the Plaza Argentina side. Came down through Plaza de Mulas...VERY glad we went up the way that we did!
Climbed the False Polish route. Wanted to come down and do the Polish Direct afterwards, but the glacier was solid ice, and we didn't have the gear to do the whole thing in those conditions...a pitch or two, sure...but not the whole thing. Screw it, we were tired anyway!
I think I'll stick to the lower peaks that are more technically challenging where you can make a summit and enjoy a beer on your tailgate at camp that same evening. Much more my style! I already know I can suffer through discomfort, and that was the biggest challenge of this mountain (on this route) for me.
Now I know! Won't do it again, but wouldn't trade it for the world!
Fairly pleasant trek via the Normal route. 12 days alltogether. Great weather and clear skies except at the summit. Sadly.
Left my tent from Nido de Condores at 3 a.m. and reached the summit at 11:30 a.m., my 11th day on the mountain. 14 days total on the mountain including the laid back descent. Climbed solo and unsupported, but used mules to basecamp. Low winds on summit day, the day right after a big storm passed through.
My detailed trip report is here: https://thecloudocean.com/2015/03/08/aconcagua-trip-report/
Photographs are here: https://thecloudocean.com/2015/03/13/aconcagua-photographs-february-2015/
After pre-acclimating on Volcan San Jose in Chile reached the summit in a single push from Plaza Argentina without load yo-yo to use a good weather window. We had the summit for ourselves for 1.5 hours in perfect windless condition. Our plan had been for Polish Glacier but we changed that and stuck to normal trail due to blank ice conditions and turned it into the "360 traverse". Descent via Plaza Mulas. The entire trip took 11 days including a rest day at Plaza Argentina (mandatory for medical check) and one at 5500m (Jan 8 - Jan 18).
14 days in total via false polish route...
Attempted. Will try again.
Attempted to climb Aconcagua late in season, but a freak snowstorm which dumped over a meter of snow, making carrying to high camps difficult, followed by a windstorm that lasted longer than expected combined with worsening cough and altitude sickness made me turn back. Next time I will go during the Christmas holidays!
Great weather most of the way for our two-man team. The summit was cloudless and windless and had incredible views. Got to the summit on Day 11 and spent a total of 14 days on the mountain.
After spending a couple weeks acclimatizing on other peaks we were prepared for a relatively quick climb of Aconcagua. We reached high camp (White Rocks) in 4 days from the Horcones trailhead. Our forecasted clear, calm day leading into a good summit day, turned into about a foot and a half of new snow from 3 pm to midnight. After digging our way out of our tents the next day, we made the long snowy hike back down to base camp. There were no less than 80 tents at high camp that day, with everyone shooting for the same good weather window. That morning we only saw one group of 4 brave the new snow and impending storm, and head towards the top.
Number 4, up the False Polish. Beautiful summit day, great expedition!
No success on the mountain this time other than having adventures keeping the camp sites intact in the high winds. Hunkered down at camp one holding the tent up from the inside for 12 hours straight. Some rest day. Two attempts at moving to camp 2 prevented by 100k per hour plus winds at Armeghino col. Returned to base camp to find it mostly destroyed with people heading home who no longer had tents. Most were destroyed in the storm we waited out at Camp 1. So it seems we were lucky after all.