Located an little more than an hour's drive from Mendoza, the Cordon del Plata Mountains are a popular destination for local climbers/trekkers and sightseeing tourists. In the winter (when there is enough snow), the Vallecitos ski area, located near the trailhead for this peak, opens to serve the local population and travelers with its T-bar lift.
These mountains are also an ideal training ground for climbers headed to Aconcagua. The range is full of peaks topping out at more than 4000 meters, with highest, Cerro Plata, reaching 5938m. This, along with the easy of access from Mendoza, makes the Cordon del Plata an excellent choice for acclimitization prior to your Aconcagua ascent, or if you're a bit of a masochist, allows for a "few more peaks" before heading home while waiting for your departing flight.
This mountain is located in Cordon del Plata. As San Bernardo, it's a very good mountain to be used for climatization purpose as many others in the area. The normal route starts at SE of the mountain and goes up rounding the ridge until arriving to the snow field called "canchita de futbol". Then at SW is the summit, not very easy to find. Very nice view from the summit. To the South, Franke and Lomas Amarillas. To SW Plata and Vallecitos. To the W Rincon. At N and not so far from there Stepanek. All camps ( Veguitas, Piedra Grande and El Salto) also visible from here.
Adolfo Calle from Vallecitos summit
Adolfo Calle with labels
From Mendoza taking the international route to Chile there is an exit marked to Centro de esqui Vallecitos at right. Arriving the area there are many shelters and a couple of hostels to stay.
This aditional information was taken from San Bernardo description. I found it very good.
Mendoza is the main city in the area and there are plenty of companies which offer you a tour or expedition to Cordon del Plata. Some only to the vantage points around the ski station, some all the way to the summits of the highest peaks in the area. The tour companies, the climbing shops or even most youth hostels can help you arrange a journey to Cordon del Plata. If you want to arrange it all by yourself, the easiest and cheapest way is to take a normal bus to the little settlement Potrerillos which is an hour away from Mendoza. This is a town where the last minute provisions can be bought.
It’s fairly easy to hitchhike to Vallecitos Ski Centre, which is at 3.000m and 28 steep km from Potrerillos. There are several settlements before the ski centre, most of them only a few houses. There is an excellent restaurant and hostel 6km before hitting the ski station and it’s a very popular stop for starved climbers on the way down from the mountain adventures. You can leave excess gear in the ski station for a small fee. There is a shop where you can buy some gear and clothing and a little restaurant is the last house you pass when you start your walk towards the mountains. Cross the river on your left and follow the foot-paths until you arrive at some wide, green fields, crossed by small rivers.
When To Climb/ The trail
First summit (and smaller) of Adolfo Calle.
Cool knife spire on my way down.
Tipically the region is very visited from November to March. But, the region is also very good for winter or other season ascents. A good point to consider is the amount of snow. If there is not much some areas can be a little bit hard due the great amount of loose stone, that makes the ascent uncomfortable and very dangerous.
The trail to Adolfo Calle is very easy and well used. Marked on a scree of steep lose rocks you can ascent by Piedras Grandes camp or even lower, from Las Veguitas camp (which makes it interesting since the altitude difference jumps to almost 1000 vertical meters!).
From the scree line you'll reach a valley which separates Adolfo Calle from Stepanek. Keep going on that valley and at all time you are getting higher and higher. After about an hour inside the valley you'll be at 4.000m high. Look on your left and you'll see the trail going up directly to the main summit. What I did was wrong, I went on a streight line from 3.800m high to the first and smaller summit. It was kinda dangerous but direct and after that I just walked the main ridge for about ten minutes to reach the cross.
Should I jump? The view from the edge of the first summit of Adolfo Calle.
Fun video of me running down the mountain! Feb 2010.
Info view with me on it.
Camping is permitted anywhere within the Cordon del Plata mountain range. Practically speaking, for a climb of Cerro Rincon, camps are generally placed at the following points along the route.
Camp 1: Known as Las Vegas or Las Veguitas, this camp is located in a beautiful meadow at approximately 3200m. This is an easy 1-2 hour hike from the trailhead, and has ample clean water from the spring-fed streams which criss-cross the meadow. Cattle and mules graze here, so it is wise to either treat the water or go to the source of the springs just above camp.
Camp 2: Known as Piedra Grande, is located another 2-3 hours up the trail from Las Vegas. This camp is at approximately 3550m, although the plaque on the "Piedra Grande", or Big Rock, states 3200m. There are many rocks around here, although there is still plenty of vegetation. Several nice spots have been cleared out for tenting. Water is a 5 minute walk to a nearby spring, or closer if you want to filter from the silty stream. Note that during our descent we saw several boulders whizzing down the mountainside through this camp. Use caution - that Piedra Grande didn't just grow there.
Base Camp: Known as Salto or Salto de Agua, is located at approximately 4300 meters and is surrounded by rubble covered glaciers and glacial debris. This camp is used as the base camp for Cerro Rincon, as well as Cerro Vallecitos, Cerro Lomas Amarillas, and Cerro Plata. There is an outfitter permanently stationed here in the high season from which you may order hot food and cold drinks. A small stream runs directly through the camp, and although it looks clean, you are advised to filter or purify the water since there are camping areas above the main base camp along this water course. This camp can be used if you did the ascent on Adolfo Calle for acclimatize and you're moving up.
Recent update by Parofes in oct 2010:
High camp: La Hoyada camp at 4.670 m. About 1 hour after El Salto de Agua base camp. Hardly used because of strong preassure variation which makes it very hard to sleep, also pretty windy and unprotected. This camp can be used if you did the ascent on Adolfo Calle for acclimatize and you're moving up.
I got this map in 2010 at the main entrance of Vallecitos ski station, where you have to register yourself. The map is updated to 2008 with new altitude for all the mountains in Cordon Del Plata.
Adolfo Calle and its two summits marked.
PS: The weather forecast on this link is good for any Cordon Del Plata summit. Click at the image to jump to the Weather Forecast page.
To hike/ climb is a dangerous activity and requires proper equipment and clothing, the owner of this page cannot be blamed by injuries caused to anyone who read this page for its info about the mountain, and eventually got hurt by doing so with reckless behaviour or bad weather conditions.
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