How to face the preparation to climb Aconcagua

In December 2019, Czech air runner Martin Zhor set a new record for the fastest ascent and descent of Aconcagua. He completed the return trip from base camp in just 3 hours, 38 minutes, and 17 seconds.

In 1944, the French Adriana Bance became the first woman to climb Aconcagua. Tragically, she and her husband would later die on the mountain.

In 1947, a British plane rumored to be carrying Nazi spies and a cargo of gold mysteriously disappeared near Aconcagua. In 1999, remains were discovered 100 km away on a mountain called Tupungato. Despite a massive investigation, the mystery of the gold, spies and a cryptic Morse code message sent moments before the crash remains unsolved. Many of the remains remain hidden in glaciers.

The Aconcagua appeared in a 1942 Disney animation called Pedro. Pedro, a “baby glider”, almost crashed on Aconcagua while transporting mail over the Andes, while he was covering for his father who “was lying down with a cold in the cylinder head”. In January 2009, there were five fatalities on Aconcagua in four separate incidents. It is unusual for so many people to die in such a short time on Aconcagua and the events caused shock in the local community.

One of those deaths was that of Italian Federico Campanini, winter climbs in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges of Asia are crowded, and since peak times on Aconcagua typically correspond at night in Nepal and Pakistan, when a climber summits Aconcagua, he is likely to be briefly (as I was) the tallest person to ever stand on Earth Climbing Aconcagua

Finally, the strawberry of the dessert is one of the largest peaks in the world. With its more than 6,962 meters high, Aconcagua is the most imposing mountain in the range. This does not go unnoticed since almost from any point in Mendoza you can see its top. Climbing Aconcagua is an extreme sport, and a challenge for professional athletes who spend years training. However, this is not an impediment for you to see it up close. You can visit the Mount Aconcagua Provincial Park, get to its base, and in the process enter one of its trails surrounded by nature. This is one of the activities in Mendoza that will leave you speechless and wanting to take thousands of photos.

Did you see all the things there are to do in Mendoza? Walk its streets, relax in hot springs, get to know one of the highest peaks in the world and much more. The official elevation of Aconcagua according to the IGM (Military Geographical Institute), is 6,962 meters. Being the highest summit in South America, and one of the seven peaks belonging to the circuit of the highest mountains of each continent. Located between 60º 50´ Long. West and 32º 39′ Lat. South.

The name Aconcagua comes from the Quechua “Ackon Cahuak” which means stone sentinel. This is the most accepted origin.

On the colossus of America, 34 ascent routes have been traced. The one described in this review is the well-known “normal route”, it is traced on its Northwest face.

Location of Aconcagua, Mendoza, Argentina

Access to the Horcones Valley

From the city of Mendoza, following International Route No. 7, we arrive at Penitentes and Puente del Inca.

Penitentes is located 165 km. from the city of Mendoza and 6 km. from the park. It has an excellent infrastructure of hotels and inns.

Puente del Inca also on the same Route No. 7, 175 km. from Mendoza and at an altitude of 2,750 m, it is a small town where there is an Argentine Army base. It has post office, inn and shelter.

Within the same Puente del Inca there is a chapel Aconcagua Guided Climb

and the ruins of an old hotel swept away by an avalanche. 1 km. Before reaching the town, you will find the Andinistas Cemetery, where the remains of mountaineers who lost their lives on Aconcagua remain. 3 km. from Puente del Inca to the northwest is the Valle de Horcones. After passing the Pyramid of the customs complex and leaving Route No. 7, you enter a dirt road that leads to the park ranger post.

Once the procedures are finished, the same valley is followed, passing by the shore of the Horcones lagoon and thus continuing on the left bank of the Horcones river, until meeting the first bridge (built when the film Seven Years in Tibet was made), that crosses to the right.

Horcones 2,800 meters. to Confluence 3,300 meters.

Time: 3 to 4 hours.

From this point on, the right bank of the Horcones River is maintained, following a narrow track well marked by the transit of mules. After doing 9 km. from Horcones, you reach the union of the Horcones Superior and Horcones Inferior rivers; this place is called Confluence.

Aconcagua Provincial Park

Confluence 3,300 meters. to Playa Ancha 3,500 meters.

Time: 1 to 2 hours.

From Confluencia you can follow two Aconcagua Hike

alternatives. The track that goes to Plaza Francia and the one that goes to Plaza de Mulas. Following the latter, you must cross the Horcones Inferior river through a bridge to then turn right and thus keep to the left bank of the river, heading northeast until the trail detaches from the river, to continue along the valley towards northwest.

Following the Horcones valley, you pass through a mallín (marshy land), crossed by small streams of water that flow into the Horcones Superior river. Here the right bank of the river is maintained, following a well-marked footprint on red earth, which leads us to a large stone which marks the beginning of a wide ravine called Playa Ancha.

Wide square 3,500 meters. to Plaza de Mulas 4,260 meters.

Weather. 4 a.m. to 7 a.m.

After making several fords to the upper Horcones river, you have to stay on the right side of the river and follow the trail, until you reach 4 km. to the ruins of the old Plaza de Mulas Inferior. From this point and to the right you can see the imposing west face. Follow the trail on a steep slope called Cuesta Brava. Once you get over the slope, you go down until you cross a stream and then continue up through moraines to Plaza de Mulas, where the park rangers, the various service providers and mountaineers are located.

The average time from Confluencia to Plaza de Mulas is between 7 to 9 hours. The distance from Horcones to Plaza de Mulas is 38 km.