My friend Richard and I summitted in perfect weather. We couldn't have asked for better conditions. The trips was perfectly by an Argentinian company. I recommend the less trodden route up the Vacas valley and traversing the Polish glacier.
Listening to the New Year's countdown in about 10 different languages at Plaza Argentina put a smile on my face...
Fortunately poor weather had cleared by the time we reached base camp. Summit in almost perfect conditions (could have been a little less windy on ascent)
Three days hiking through the Vacas valley. Spent 3 days at Plaza de Argentia and did a carry to Camp 1. On day 7 of our trip, we moved to camp one...the wind was raging. A few days later we carried and then moved to camp two. Next day moved to camp 3 (White Rocks) at about 20,000 feet where we watched and waited for the weather to give us a break. It was relentless, lots of snow, and strong winds. After 3 days of misery at high camp we had to go down...no summit window ever opened. We dropped down the other side of the mountain to Plaza de Mulas and walked out to the trailhead via Confluencia the next day. Probably have to do this one again but I think I'll spend a week acclimating in Boliva before going to Argentina.
Polish Traverse Route
Climbed with dayhiker. His description below gives the details. Two other climbers (Scooter and Jyh) also climbed with us summitting shortly after we started down. Great trip and I like the fact that we didn't mess with Berlin and just went for the summit from Nido. After the summit I used the "escape route" for a quick scree descent back down to Nido. 9 hrs 15 mins to the summit from Nido, 1 hr 45 mins down. No view on top due to clouds but otherwise an excellent summit day.
To all you Euro climbers, please pack out your turds!
Started from Camp 2 at around 630am. Reached the summit almost 9 hrs later. Didn't stay more than 2 minutes on it, as bad weather was moving in. I climbed solo and was the last person on summit that day. In fact, I didn't see a soul, not even from distance, as descended back to camp in snow. Great trip. Was a part of Brad Marshall's 2006/2007 expedition. Special thanks to Brad and Sue for organizing the trip.
Congrats! Man, you did a quick trip.
Climbed with Rick Kent and summitted about an hour later than that speedy guy. Our summit day was from Nido de Condores, which made for a very strenuous day. Here was my complete itinerary:
(02 January through 15 January, 2007)
Day 0: Mendoza, Argentina (2500 ft).
Day 1: Hike to Confluencia (11240 ft).
Day 2: Hike to Plaza de Mulas (14380 ft).
Day 3: Rest at Plaza de Mulas (14380 ft).
Day 4: Summit Cerro Bonete (16605 ft); sleep at Plaza de Mulas *(14380 ft).
Day 5: Rest at Plaza de Mulas (14380 ft).
Day 6: Carry gear to Nido de Condores (18300 ft), sleep at Plaza de Mulas (14380 ft).
Day 7: Rest at Plaza de Mulas (14380 ft).
Day 8: Move to Nido de Condores (18300 ft).
Day 9: Acclimatization hike to 20050 feet (first time above 20kft -- great views). Sleep at Nido de Condores (18300 ft).
Day 10: Rest at Nido de Condores (18300 ft).
Day 11: Summit (22841 ft). Leave for summit at 05:00. Ascent from Nido took me almost 10 hours. Canaleta scree scramble at 22000 feet is very strenuous for a big guy. Sleep at Nido de Condores (18300 ft).
Day 12: Descend to Plaza de Mulas (14380 ft).
Day 13: Hike out to trailhead and take Grajales shuttle bus to Mendoza (2500 ft).
We chose to have an itinerary that was different from the typical Normal-Route itinerary that usually includes a lower intermediate camp, such as Canada, and summitting from a higher camp, such as Berlin. We did this to avoid the huge pain in the ass of heavy carries and moving camps.
The major downside of our itinerary was the long summit day, with 4500 feet of gain. Spend some time around 20000 feet, and you'll see how what would take 3 hours at a lower elevation takes 10 hours here.
The advantage of our itinerary was that we spent six nights (prior to ascent) at base camp (Plaza de Mulas -- 14380 feet), where the elevation and temperatures allowed for good sleep. We were able to access high places to climb from Mulas during the day. Likewise, from Nido, we were able to acclimatize during the day on higher parts of the mountain, while avoiding sleeping at the camps above 19000 feet. We were also able to sleep at Nido for four consecutive nights, without the hassle of moving camp.
Cerro Aconcagua is the one mountain in the area whose surveyed elevation of 22841 feet seems correct. After seeing deviations between surveyed and GPS elevations for Cerro Bonete and Cerro Manso, I thought about the possibility of an error in the GPS's ellipsoid Earth model for that part of the world. But, on Cerro Aconcagua, my two GPSs read 22855 feet and 22850 feet, so their elevation readings agreed with that surveyed, as 22841 feet is within the precision of the devices.
Sue and I both summitted via the False Polish Traverse in perfect weather, no wind and bright sunshine. Spent 1/2 hour at the top enjoying the view and our accomplishment.
After a week of acclimating, 3 sick partners, and 1 sick porter I was all alone at Berlin Camp when I made a push for the summit. The weather was perfect and the conditions were great when I finally arrived at the highest point in the Americas
No snow, never touched our crampons or ice axes. Amazing weather, cold but no wind, we were very fortunate. 9 hours up from Nido, but 6 coming down.
Aconcagua was my first multi-day expedition style climb. The weather played havoc on the nerves, but otherwise a most enjoyable and straight-forward climb. The trip took 12 days in total and was completed a few days before Christmas 2004.
Approched via the Polish Glacier route, then crossed over to the normal route on summit day (one of the few mild weather days). Amazing how many persons on the normal route as we approached it from the east. Met "Aconcagua Al" at the 19,000 ft campsite; he was still rresting comfortably.
See the report on our multi-page expedition web site This expedition traversed the mountain (up the Polish side, down Ruta Normal), spent 40 hours 5 folks in a 3-man tent at 20,300 ft getting blown to bits by the Vente Blanca, but did not summit.
So proud to summit with my 60 year old dad. Only felt sick one morning; maybe it was the altitude, but probably was the gas expelled from my 2 tentmates. Otherwise, I gained weight on the trip and my dad came back looking like he had been nailed to a tree. Great learning experience and pretty views on summit day.
We had excellent weather on the hole trip, including the summit day. A bit cold in the morning -21 C on my back pack. Otherwise perfect conditions.
My trip started in Peru in july 1997. I did not know that I was going to be two years and a half in South America. With $40 from La Paz I went to Santiago and some people loaned a tent a jacket and food to go to Aconcagua. This has been the climb that I cherish the most because it taught me that everything is possible.
Just finished my 7th guiding season on Aconslogua and racked up summits 15, 16, and 17.
I think another year of this and I'll need a break...