Group meets in Mendoza, Argentina. Equipment check and afternoon briefing at the hotel. For dinner we will have a chance to taste fine Argentinean cuisine and wine.
Drive West from Mendoza to Penitentes ski area at 8,500' . Our drive winds along the Rio Mendoza deep into the heart of the rugged Andes mountains where we begin our acclimatization in Penitentes. An afternoon hike is recommended, though optional.
Approach to Plaza Guanacos Base Camp, mules carrying our gear. This approximately 35 mile approach is essential to our acclimatization. Our first two days we follow the same route as Aventuras Patagonicas old Traverse and Polish Glacier Expeditions. The third day begins our new approach. We continue up the Vacas Valley instead of ascending the Relinchos Valley. The chances of seeing other expeditionson this new exciting route is remote. The chance of seeing numerous wildlife is much more probable. Spectacular glaciers contrasting with a desert backdrop make this approach both surreal and unforgettable. We have an excellent chance of seeing herds of guanacos. When Rodrigo did an exploratory trip to the region he encountered several hundred, counting 80 in one sighting alone! These magnificent mammals are well camouflaged, extremely elusive and a rare sight in the Aconcagua region.
Plaza Guanaco Base Camp at 13,000' . Rest and acclimatization day at Base Camp. We want everyone to have the best possible chance to make the summit. The most effective way to do this is to take the time to acclimatize to the low oxygen environment. We will incorporate rest days into our schedule and climb in traditional expedition style. We will be carrying loads up to the next camp and returning to sleep below at the previous camp. The next day we will move to the higher camp.
Carry a load to Camp I at approximately 15,200' . The route goes up the narrow valley between the North side of Cerro Ameghino and Cerro San Francisco. Here we will be able to see Nieve Penitentes, unique snow and ice formations created by the direct sun. Return to Base Camp.
Leave Base Camp. Move to Camp I.
Carry a load to Camp II at 16,500' , a pleasant well-protected area with tremendous views of Cerro Mercedario, Cerro Mano and other Andean giants. Return to Camp I.
Move to Camp II.
Carry a load to Camp III, below the Polish Glacier at 17,800' .
Move to Camp III. depending on how group is doing.
Carry to High Camp, Piedras Blancas (White Rocks) at 19,200'.
Move to High Camp.
Summit! Weather permitting. We allow several days for our Summit Day in case of poor weather.
Descend the Normal Route to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp. This will be quite exciting since we will be descending a different side of the mountain.
Hike out the Horcones Valley with its impressive views of Aconcagua's South Face. Mules carry our gear. We arrive in the afternoon to Penitentes where we may take a quick shower and head on to Mendoza to the comfort of the Mendoza Park Hyatt. If extra weather and acclimatization days are not used on our expedition, you and your team may arrive a day or two earlier to Mendoza. Evening banquet with your team, if too late summit Certificates will be given at breakfast or lunch the next day.
Leisure day in Mendoza, possibly fly home this afternoon or continue traveling in South America.