A sister peak of Aconcagua very often overlooked by climbers intent on the big one next to it. The summit can be done by following the same route in as if you were doing the Polish glacier route on Aconcagua. The difference being that you would head up to the right after attaining Ameghino col. You could make your summit "bid" from either camp one on Aconcagua (16,300 ft) or from a camp that could be set up on top of the Ameghino col at approx 17,500 ft.(there are several good flat platforms here). This could be mostly a walk on scree (always a joy at altitude) with a couple of sections near the summit where crampons and an ice axe could come in handy depending on snow and ice conditions. The view from the summit is a good one of the Polish glacier to the south west and a great one to the south and east of Indio pass, Mesa, Remada, and Mercedario.
Fly to either Santiago (Chile) or Mendoza (Argentina). Take the bus to Puente del Inca or Penetentes. The entrance to the National Park is through the Vacas Valley near Penetentes for Ameghino (the same for the Polish Glacier, Polish Traverse and Vacas routes on Aconcagua).
As of 1999 you must go to Mendoza Argentina in person to get your climbing permit. It used to be easier to take a bus from Santiago to just inside the Argentine border at Penitentes. But now you will still have to go to Mendoza.
There is another issue if you go through customs at Santiago airport there is a good chance that you will have all meat and dairy products from your expidition food confiscated upon entering Chile. Stay in transit and take a short (45 min) flight on Lan Chile or Aerolineas Argentinas to Mendosa, Argentina. This will allow you to keep your food, get your permits, possibly see Aconcagua from the air as they fly close to it at times, and save the 100$ U.S. tax Chile imposes on all Americans, Canadians, (and others). I love Chile but they have made things difficult for climbers (particularly those on a budget) with this tax and with the food issue.
Note on the mules. Each mule can only take 60 kilos (two 30 kilo bags balanced). So each duffle you bring should not exceed 30 kilos. As a rule clients are allowed 30 kilos including their food. Not including tents and communal gear. For the walk out, it will depend on whether you hire mules who just brought gear in or if they came in empty just for you. Try to negotiate in advance for dropoff and pickup. Radios are useful here and the Rangers can be of great help.
For the Ameghino as for Polish glacier route on Aconcagua you will be charged 3 days in and one to two days out for the approach and its the same story for the walk out as on the normal route.
Mule prices can vary but it works to about 150 USD perday for and mule driver and two mules (120 kilos). This is only a guide things change depending on how desperate you are and availability, size of group. Eight people would use 4 mules (2x30 = 60 kilos per mule) plus probably 2 mules (2x60 kilos of communal gear). You would probably have three muleteers.
Just an example.
This year for Aconcagua (December 2001) it cost us for two mules in (three days) and one mule out (two days) including the Mule driver $ 750$US
To climb Ameghino you must enter ACONCAGUA PROVINCIAL PARK. To do this you must obtain a permit.
The closeness of this peak to Aconcagua dictates that you must get a permit for aconcagua to get to the point of attempting a summit on Ameghino. (Cost wise it would be better to do this peak as a side trip to doing Aconcagua). But Not everyone has the time and extra energy to do both.
Getting your permit has to be done personally.
New information on Permits 06/10/04 information gathered from Rudy Parras web site
To enter ACONCAGUA PROVINCIAL PARK, you have obtain a permit.
You will have to fill out the forms personally. Permits are sold EXCLUSIVELY in the “General San Martín” Park (approximately 20 blocks from downtown Mendoza), in “Los Robles” Avenue, between “Las Tipas” and “El Rosedal” Avenue (opposite “Independiente Rivadavia” Football Stadium) very close to the entrance gates to the park. Most cabs know where this is.
From rnm1 A change this year is that when you apply for your permit in mendoza you must get a ´banking slip´ from the park office, then go to a bank to pay your permit fee. the bank will stamp this slip & then you return to the park office again to get your ´climbing permit´. the whole process takes a couple of hours now, probably a lot more with high season line ups
HIGH SEASON: From 15th December of year 2004 to 31st January 2005, a permit costs:
Climbing USD$ 330 20 days
Long Trekking USD$ 50 7 days
Short Trekking USD$ 30 3 days
MEDIUM SEASON: From December 1st to December 14th, 2004, and from February 1st to February 20th, 2005 a permit costs:
Climbing USD$ 220 20 days
Long Trekking USD$ 40 7 days
Short Trekking USD$ 20 3 days
LOW SEASON: From November 15th to November 30th and from February 21st to March 15th of each year: 2004 - 2005
Climbing USD$ 110 20 days
Long Trekking USD$ 30 7 days
Short Trekking USD$ 20 3 days
Validity of the permits (as from the date of access to the Park) Validity of the permits Climbing 20 days. Long Trekking 7 days Short Trekking 3 days.
Proceeds from the duties are alloted (supposed to be) to the maintenance and protection of the ACONCAGUA PROVINCIAL PARK.
Off –season (from March 16 to November 14) access to the Aconcagua Park is no longer free. A permit must be purchased in Mendoza or at the Park Rangers’ Shelter in Horcones Valley. The price of admittance is the price charged during the high season even if the rescuing service is not provided. Neither doctors nor park rangers are available during this period. However, for a “special” price, there is an exception between March 16 and April 1st., of each season.
To access the Aconcagua Park within these periods, for trekkings or to climb, we suggest contacting the Aconcagua Park’s authorities. There are restrictions regarding the access of MINORS to the Park: they will have to exhibit pertinent authorization signed by both parents and certified by Public Notary or their respective Consulate or Embassy. For further information, please, contact the RENOVABLE NATURAL RESOURCES BUREAU (Dirección de Recursos Naturales Renovables) located in General San Martín Park, phone + 54 261 425 5090 or + 54 261 425 7065 (from 08:00 AM to 01:00 PM) e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CLIMBING AND TREKKINGS PERMITS The permits must be given in person to each visitor and only in Mendoza. Trekking and tourism agencies are not authorized anymore to get the climbing permits for visitors as it was in the past. Each climber must come in person to Mendoza city to get it. The permits can not be bought either at Puente de Inca or Punta de Vacas. The control of permisses is done in laguna Horcones (normal and south face), the same as in the Rio Vacas (Polish and Polish traverse routes) by the park-rangers. Anywhere inside the park, the permit or the receipt may be required to be shown.
(Passport or Identity Card required). Neither medical certificate or evidences of insurance are necessary.
Payment may be either in Argentine Pesos or in U.S. Dollars. No credits cards or checks are accepted. This should not take to long as the staff are normally pretty used to their jobs and are usually pleasent.
Permits are valid from the date of entry to the Park
Argentine citizens are entitled to a 50% discount on the above prices.
Out the season or after the 16th of March and until November 14th, access to the Aconcagua Park is now 40 pesos (about 15$). However, there may or may not be forms to be filed in Mendoza city. It is recommended to contact the authorities of the Aconcagua Provincial Park.
Note on out of season climbs
On this side the route in up the Vacas river is very dangerous with serious avalanche and impossible river crossings. Should be avoided.
Allow three days at least for the approch. Here is how it can go. You can alter as you go depending on how you feel.
Day one- Pampa laina, 4-5 hours
Day two- Casa Piedra, 5-7 hours
Day three- Plaza Argentina, 6-8 hours
Day four- Rest
Day five- Carry a load to camp 1, 3-5 hours
Day six- Move up to camp 1
Day seven- Rest
Day eight- Carry to Ameghino col, 1-3 hours
Day nine- Rest
Day ten- Move up to Ameghino col, 1-3 hours
Day eleven- rest
Day twelve- start for the summit bring ice axe and crampons these might be needed on the top sections, depending on snow and ice conditions. Allow 6-8 hours or longer for the round trip.
Day thirteen- decend to base camp then arrange mules with the rangers for you gear and walk out to Casa Piedra to spend the night.
Day fourteen-walk out to the highway at mouth of the Rio Vacas have you pick up scheduled in advance and have the rangers confirm it if possible. If not you will have to walk or hitch hike (which is difficult since it is so close to the border). You can always call the hotel at Penitentes from the truck customs building at the mouth of the Vacas. They will pick you up if you will stay or eat there. So have the number tucked away.
Equipment list info:
Here is a brief list for you.
1-pair of shorts for the walk in
2-pair t-shirts for the walk in
2-bandanas or a sun hat too keep off the sun
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen plus zinc
Good sturdy Hiking shoes
1-sleeping bag (as warm as you can get)
1-sleeping pad (your choice the more comfortable you are the better you sleep the more energy you will have) you can get a Crazy Creek chair that goes with your pad this is a good investment.
2-expedition weight Patagonia long underwear tops (or 1 depends on how dirty you like to be)
1-expedition weight Patagonia long underwear bottom
1 lightweight fleese bottom
1-heavy weight Patagonia or similar fleese jacket
1-Gortex shell jacket
1-Gortex shell pants (full length zippers)
1-Down filled jacket liner from Feathered Friends of Seattle, (optional but I always end up using it)
1-Downfilled Gortex guides Parka 1-Warm hat with ear flaps
2-pair of heavy duty mittens (in case you lose one pair up high)
1-pair fleese gloves 1-pair ski gloves
1-pair of Koflach double plastic boots, One Sport (warmer)($$$) or Asolo (I prefer Koflach, I find them more comfortable)
1-pair of gaitors
1-pair ski poles
1-ice axe (mostly for digging tent platforms)
1-pair of sharp crampons (test them on your boots before you leave and make sure they fit perfectly)
1-headlamp with extra batteries
1-cup with spoon attached
1- stove of your choice (I use Markhill stormy hanging stone with Blueway cartridges, you can get fuel in Chile or Argentina as it is difficult to fly down) allow 10 canisters per 2-man tent. You can also get white gaz easily.
1-tent (you can bring two if you wish and leave one set up at base camp in case one of you has to stay down for any reason. food for 12-15 days. If in doubt go with less rather than more as your appetite will decrease at the higher camps. You can fo a price purchase food at basecamp after January 1st. 3-1-litre waterbottles each (drink at least 5 litres a day to help acclimitise)