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We approach the Polish Glacier via the Ameghino – Upper Guanacos Valley and traverse the mountain. If you are signing up for the Polish Glacier Route you need to have previous high altitude experience, and be very familiar with the use of ice axe, crampons, and belaying techniques. We are specialized in the Polish Glacier Route, having successfully guided it many times.
Success on Aconcagua!
The line we choose will depend on conditions. If a lot of penitentes (snow pinnacles formed by direct sunlight) are encountered in the lower section of the glacier, we will start by climbing through the scree and rock on the right hand side.
The steeper Polish Glacier Direct Route has been the choice route in recent years. Although steeper, it is safer and easier due to fewer icy and exposed traverses than on the old Polish Route. On this spectacular, steep snow and ice climb we will use several running belays.
In steeper icy sections we will climb pitches instead of using running belays, belaying and regrouping at every anchor. A long day of climbing will take us to the Summit Ridge at 22,000′ after the last steep pitch; a 55-60 degree narrow gully with the entire Glacier below at our feet. The final ridge is very long and gentle. After summiting, we descend quickly down the Normal Route to Independencia (20,790′) where we descend to our High Camp at 19,200′ to rest and spend the night. The next day we descend the Normal Route.
WAITING LIST: IF AN EXPEDITION DEPARTURE YOU ARE INTERESTED IS FULL, PLEASE CONTACT US TO BE PUT ON THE EXPEDITIONS’S WAITING LIST. IN THE EVENT OF A CANCELLATION, QUALIFIED APPLICANTS WILL BE ABLE TO GET THAT NEW SPOT AND REGISTER.
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. Afternoon hike is recommended though optional.
Approach to Base Camp. Hike up the Vacas and Ameghino Valleys to
Base Camp. Mules will carry our gear.
Here we begin the route, which was established in 1934 by a Polish Expedition. Even today this eastern approach to the mountain is not as heavily traveled as the Normal Route.
After three days of spectacular, colorful, high desert scenery we reach our Base Camp, Plaza Argentina, at 13,800’. The hike to Base Camp is approximately 40 kilometers and gives us the perfect chance to begin our acclimatization.
Rest and acclimatization day at Base Camp. Organize for upper mountain. 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.This is an excellent method of acclimatization, our main focus throughout your expedition.
Carry a load to Camp I at approximately 16,300’. 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 17,800’. Fantastic view of the Polish Glacier. We ascend scree slopes to a broad ridge crest where we will establish Camp II. Today we reconnect with our UPPER GUANACOS VALLEY ROUTE! After reaching the Ameghino saddle, a gentle easy traverse takes us to the Guanacos. This is an easy day, where we traverse from the saddle to the upper Guanacos, elevation gain is minimum.
Move to Camp II.
Carry a load to Camp III / High Camp below the Polish Glacier, at 19,200’.
Move to Camp III / High Camp from where we will tackle the summit the next day, depending on how group is doing.
Day 13 - 16
Summit! Weather permitting. We allow several days for Summit Day in case of poor weather. This is by far the longest and hardest day of the Expedition. Spectacular steep snow and ice climbing will take us to the summit.
Descend the Normal Route to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp. This will be quite exciting since we descend 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.
Leisure day in Mendoza, possibly fly home this afternoon or continue traveling in South America
- Professional Mountain Guides
- 2 nights hotel accommodation in Mendoza at theMendoza Park Hyatt Hotelwith breakfast buffet (1 night at the beginning of the expedition and 1 night at the end of the expedition)
- 1 night hotel accommodation with breakfast and dinner in Penitentes, on the way to the mountain
- All land transportation
- All expedition food
- All community gear such as: tents, stoves, state of the art Base Camp, cooking gear, medical kits, satellite phones, radios, gamow bag, pulse-oximeters, etc.
You are responsible for
- Round-trip flights to and from Mendoza, Argentina
- Aconcagua climbing permit fee ($700 to $900 depending on season) which you will pay in Mendoza, accompanied by your guide. South Americans pay about half of this amount and Argentinean Citizens about 1/4 of that amount.
- Meals in Mendoza
- Personal equipment
- Personal items and services (laundry, snacks, drinks, tips, etc.)
- Expenses incurred in the case of a rescue or early departure from the expedition
- SAT phone charges
*PORTERS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE, BUT NOT INCLUDED, YOU NEED TO LET US KNOW IF YOU WISH A PORTER AND WE WILL HAVE IT ALL ARRANGED FOR YOU.
Porters cost from $160 to $300 per load carry depending on Altitude they carry to. You will need a maximum of 5 to 6 load carries from Base Camp to High Camp and back down to Base Camp again (about $1,200 USD), if you choose to have a porter for each carry, and move, and for the descent of the mountain.
Porters will be available at Base Camp. The final number of estimated load carries may be decided at Base Camp.
WAITING LIST: IF AN EXPEDITION DEPARTURE YOU ARE INTERESTED IS FULL, PLEASE CONTACT US TO BE PUT ON THE EXPEDITION’S WAITING LIST. IN THE EVENT OF A CANCELLATION, QUALIFIED APPLICANTS WILL BE ABLE TO GET THAT NEW SPOT AND REGISTER.