Aconcagua Climbing – Never underestimate the “age” of Aconcagua

The cabinet tests carried out on the matrix of the deposits were carried out according to the operating conditions and are described below.

Mineralogical analysis: The mineralogical composition, except clays, has been analyzed from 2-3 grams of an 80-gram sample, ground to a size less than 35 μm, through X-ray diffraction, using a D5000 diffractometer ( Bruker AXS). The Aconcagua 360 Route used Cu radiation and an accessory graphite monochromator. Diffraction data were taken from 4° to 70° 2θ, with a scan width of 0.02° and a counter tube scan time of 2 seconds per step. We worked with 40 KV and 30 mA. The quantitative analysis of the phases was determined using the Rietveld technique contained in the BG MN/AUTOQUAN software (Bergmann et al. 1998).

Grain size analysis: For this type of analysis, 12-15 grams of sample were used. The organic components were dissolved through treatment with H2O2. The remaining material was sieved into two fractions: larger and smaller than 63 μm. The first was screened at all phi divisions (phi > -2). From the material smaller than 63 μm, the clay-sized fraction was separated using the Atterberg method, while that corresponding to silt was analyzed with a Micromeritics SediGraph 5100 in all phi divisions.

Grain roundness grading: Some of the remaining material was sieved at 250-500 μm and 100 grains from each sample were graded using Turner’s two-dimensional visual roundness tester. Bearing in mind that Confluencia is the site where both types of deposits are best exposed, we first How to Climb Aconcagua proceeded to define their lithological characteristics there, to compare later what was observed in the different valleys. With this information, the proper genetic interpretation was carried out. The Confluence above profile is exposed in the ravine located on the left bank of the Inferior Horcones River, just in front of its junction with the Superior Horcones River. This profile, of approximately 20 meters, presents two types of deposits recognizable by their different color and stratigraphic position: 1) reddish, the oldest, and 2) gray, the youngest (upper third of said profile).

The upper, grayish deposit comprises a breccia with blocks several meters in diameter (recognized up to 5 Aconcagua Guided Climb meters) scattered in a poorly selected, also breccia matrix (from gravels to clays), predominantly of the same composition as the blocks. The latter shows the typical lithologies of the volcanoes of the Aconcagua Volcanic Complex, made up of lavas, breccias, and tuffs, of andesitic and dacitic composition. It is important to note that this breccia level covers most of the Confluencia sector.

Aconcagua Climbing – Expedition or climbing alone?

Some small sinkholes in the distal part of the deposit and very few depressions with lagoons, which indicates the presence of an impermeable substrate. The mounds are rounded and smooth on the surface and soils have developed in the depressions. In a profile product of a road cut, a soil has been observed in these depressions, covered by detrital material from the mounds that surround the hollow, as converging microslopes. This remobilization of material from the top of the mounds into the surrounding depressions has considerably smoothed the original surface of the deposit. In addition to gravity, periglacial processes, Aconcagua Argentina surface weathering and wind deposition have contributed to it. Towards the distal zone, at the Confluence with the Cuevas valley, the deposit is divided into two lobes; one penetrates perpendicularly to the valley of the Cuevas river, in the same direction that it brought in the Horcones, while the second lobe extends downstream in the valley of the Cuevas river, advancing approximately 2,000 m in it. The cross-sectional profile of the Horcones deposit indicates that it is higher in the center than towards the flanks. The distal edge of the Horcones deposit is therefore located at the Confluence of the Horcones and Cuevas river valleys. This distal edge of the Horcones deposit is perfectly defined and has a variable height between 5 and 10 meters, which allows the deposit in question to be separated from the surrounding land. The latter correspond to a lithologically similar deposit located just below, and Mount Aconcagua also has an irregular morphology, although smoother than that of the Horcones deposit. In accordance with what was mentioned above, the study of the filling material of the valleys of the area made it possible to distinguish essentially two types of deposits, also well distinguishable by their field (megascopic) and morphological characteristics, previously considered as till by other authors.

Numerous mineralogical, granulometric and roundness analyzes were carried out on the matrix of both deposits present in the different valleys, in order to capture the complete lithological characterization of Aconcagua and precisely define their genesis. Sampling was carried out in the Horcones Inferior, Horcones Superior and Horcones valleys (both proximal and distal, already at the intersection with the Cuevas River). The underlying deposit exposed by the deepening of the Cuevas River, only had a microscopic study of the loose grain of the sandy-silty material in order to determine its mineralogical composition. A synthesis of the lithological characteristics of the Quebrada de Horcones deposit was presented by Lagorio et al.

Do I need technical knowledge to climb Aconcagua?

If we move from the foothills to the high basin of the Mendoza River, Espizua (1989) describes the Penitentes, Horcones and Almacenes drifts. Subsequently, the Horcones deposits were assigned by Pereyra and González Díaz (1993) to flows originating from rotational landslides. Recently Fauqué et al. (2008a and b) considered the three drift deposits as distal flows of rock avalanches. In this case there is no doubt that the area was glaciated during the Pleistocene, but what is being discussed here is the Aconcagua Mountain Guides validity of the glacial stratigraphy of the Mendoza river basin, based on the mass shear deposits identified .

These antecedents allow us to observe that glacial deposits and mass removal deposits have been confused for more than 60 years. Therefore, the need arises to review and reinterpret the morphology together with the sedimentological characteristics of the high mountain Quaternary deposits. The incorrect identification as moraines made of deposits corresponding to rock avalanches that have survived erosion in previously glazed terrain, has been pointed out by Hewitt (2002) as frequent in many parts of the world. Detailed mapping of Quaternary deposits has been insufficient in many high mountain regions, despite the fact that it is linked to knowledge of geological risks.

It was precisely a study linked to the Aconcagua Ascents geological risks that affect the town of Puente del Inca, the reason for which the issue of the genesis of the deposit located in the Horcones ravine was addressed, in order to discern if it is of glacial origin or associated with mass removal. The resolution of this problem made it necessary to extend the observations to the Cuevas river valley and to the deposit assigned to the Penitentes drift.

The recent reinterpretations of the Horcones, Almacenes and Penitentes drifts were presented in abstracts at the XVII Argentine Geological Congress, therefore we intend here to provide all the information on which the new interpretation of the three deposits is based. We will start with the Horcones deposit and finally we will refer to the one located immediately downstream from the town of Penitentes. In the investigation of the Aconcagua Treks Horcones, Almacenes and Penitentes drifts, special attention was paid to the surface morphology of the deposits, their location and extension in the valleys and their volume. The morphological characteristics of the valleys of Horcones Inferior, Horcones, Tolosa, Cuevas and Mario Ardito were also analyzed, comparing them with other valleys in the area. The southern wall of Cerro Aconcagua was also studied in detail, as some anomalous and/or unusual morphologies were noted in it.

Aconcagua Climbing – The challenge of reaching Colera

Finally we arrived in Berlin, we made the tents since there was no room in the shelters, Esteban, who arrived first with Graciela, had a strong dispute with the guide of another expedition who was reserving places inside the shelter, as you can see the “criolla liveliness” it is immune to high altitudes, we look for snow far from the shelters so that it is not contaminated and we make water. Aconcagua Guided Climb

The fatigue at this height is incredible, to set up the tent, look for snow or simply change clothes. I took photos on the ascent. We are all very tired and the lack of oxygen is very noticeable. Tomorrow we plan to leave for the summit at four in the morning, I hope that the weather will be with us and we will achieve it because the effort is tremendous.

It’s a pity that the photos I don’t think show the imposing mountain landscapes and the precipices on the side of the path in their true dimension, when I look down I feel chills, a fall here must be more than 1000ms and without a doubt it is from the path to eternity, there is no chance of surviving something like that, the other big problem and what I see when looking up in some sections are avalanches, those avalanches of thousands of tons of ice and stones that bury everything in their path. However, at no time did I feel fear, only exhaustion and a tremendous desire to reach the summit. Aconcagua Mountain Guides

Arriving in Berlin we see a large number of lower snow-capped hills that surround us and the summit of Aconcagua covered by rock formations. We set up the tents with great effort and again go looking for snow to make water. Melting snow seems simple, but to make a liter of water from snow takes about forty minutes, the specialist in melting it is Mario and I go looking for it, Eduardo is the taster, he does the quality control… an efficient team .

Meals are quick and basic, based on instant soup, cheese, cold cuts, 4-cheese noodles, sausages, and cookies.

At this altitude, it is necessary to hydrate well, approximately 3 liters per day, to prevent the complications of altitude. In general, one is neither hungry nor thirsty despite great efforts, but eats and drinks liquids even if one does not feel like it, because dehydration and weakening due to lack of calories is fatal. I also take a vitamin pill every day. Aconcagua Ascents

The temperatures in Berlin are 15 degrees below zero, in the tent I estimate 5 degrees below zero.The tent moves a lot but it holds, I don’t know if we can go to the summit tomorrow.

Aconcagua Climbing – Different types of training for Aconcagua

Without a doubt, the efforts and sacrifices are great, but the emotions and the incredible and moving landscapes that we observe make up for everything, anyway I think that this is not for everyone and with this I do not want to make a value judgment, one is not even better no worse, it’s different. The sensations that one experiences in these situations are not known in the traditional activities that 90% of people resort to for fun or recreation. Aconcagua 360 Route

We chatted until 10 pm about everything, a very good relationship with my tent mates Eduardo Morales and Mario Mónaco.

Thursday 12 /02 /04

“I am tremendously aware that, if nature deploys all its power, I have no chance. And in that case no plan will work, no matter how well laid out.”

The snowfall continues and last night was the coldest night, I calculate 20 degrees below zero outside and 5 below zero in the tent. Anyway with the sleeping bags we were not cold. Mario continues with a cough, but he slept, Eduardo and I are fine. The tent condensed on all its walls, it is as if it were snowing inside when one touches it.

It dawned very cold, but with sun, if the weather continues like this, we will arrive without problems in Berlin (6000m). We would already be only 1000m from the long-awaited summit. Gladys feels bad and goes downstairs. Her face is very swollen, without a doubt her height is affecting her a lot and she is careful not to take unnecessary risks.

We are waiting for the weather report, to decide the conduct, apparently it is very cold and windy higher up. Aconcagua

Finally, we break camp and leave for Berlin at 1:30 p.m. and arrive at 3:30 p.m. with a 500m drop. It was a very hard ascent because we carry 15 kg in our backpack and the height shows… Leandro turned around halfway through the journey, due to great fatigue and general malaise. We had to reorganize his backpack and the distribution of the tents, each carrying a  How to Climb Aconcagua little of the load that he brought and was essential to continue. What I am telling you in a few words was quite dramatic because it happened in the middle of the climb and with very little room for manoeuvre, the trail is very narrow and the precipices on the side are hundreds of meters long… in general one tries not to look down.

Aconcagua Climbing – Useful data for the Aconcagua

State of Route 40

Check the status of Route 40 on our website: Status of Route 40.

Important Tips

Bring water and food. A map in paper format.

If you are going to visit the mountain range, have warm clothes, a jacket and a warm hat on hand, even in summer. The climate in the high mountains can be variable and the wind chills.

Bring blankets and a heater for any problem that may occur and require you to spend the night on the route.

It can rain torrentially in summer, and summer melting can cause seemingly dry streams to swell. Be careful on speed bumps and water steps.

In winter it can freeze and temperatures in Andean areas drop to -25°C, it can snow and cut off traffic on Route 7.

We suggest reading our tips for driving in snow if you are going to drive in winter as ice in shady areas and snow can be problematic.

Also read our tips for driving safely in the mountains and on gravel roads.

Aconcagua Mountain Guides

Access to Aconcagua from Route 40

This is the access map to Aconcagua from Mendoza.

From the city of Mendoza, take National Route 7, which connects it with Santiago de Chile and drive west towards Puente del Inca. Go past the Argentine Customs (unless you are going to Chile, in which case you must complete the corresponding controls).

Route 40 reaches the city of Mendoza from the South, coming from El Sosneado and Malargüe, and from the North, from San Juan.

We describe the section of the Route in the Uco Valley in our Section from Pareditas to Mendoza (Section 10).

The previous section, towards the South, is the section from Barrancas to Pareditas and the one that follows is the section from Mendoza to Guandacol, passing through the city of San Juan. 

Aconcagua Ascents

Fuel in the Zone

There is fuel in:

Pareditas, San Rafael, San Carlos, Tunuyán, Tupungato, Maipú, Luján de Cuyo, Uspallata, and throughout Greater Mendoza

Location of Service Stations on Route 40

This is the Sigma Project, which seeks to measure the advance of tectonic plates in that massif using GPS. The data you collect is vast. It is in charge of the Ianigla (of the Cricyt), the UNCuyo, the Directorate of Renewable Natural Resources and the University of Hawaii. Through the so-called Acon GPS Permanent Station and the meteorological station, which are already operational, GPS reference patterns will be established in Argentina, and the variations in height and displacement of that hill and other chains will be specified for seismological purposes; It will also provide information on glaciers using a method similar to tomography Aconcagua Treks

Aconcagua Climbing – Unforgettable experience in South America

Tuesday 10 / 02 / 04

“When one is stressed and nervous, complaining and complaining is tempting, but such behavior is only useful if someone can fix things for you, and in the mountains everyone is responsible for himself” Aconcagua Hike

Today we set up camp to go to Nido de Cóndores (5600mts). This morning there was a problem between Gladys and Belén, who are tent mates. Apparently Gladys is not very cooperative with daily tasks, I know that she does the minimum and is also the slowest of the group, which causes problems in the marches, as if all this were not enough, poor Belén lost the water she was heating Inside the tent, she began to cry, I think it is the sum of everything that has been said, plus the effort, the lack of oxygen, the tension typical of the situation we are experiencing and fundamentally the lack of “wave” between them.

In general, except for these small incidents, the group works well. Eduardo slept spectacularly and today he is another, on the march to Nido de Cóndores he went very well. It was a very hard journey due to the higher altitude, the 15 kg of the backpack and the steep slopes. It took me a lot of effort but it went well. Leandro did not tolerate the march and Fernando had to help him with the backpack, I do not think he will attempt the summit, the same situation is that of Gladys. Aconcagua Expeditions

The place is moving, how to describe in words the grandeur of the mountains and this landscape that so few people know, I feel privileged and I give “thanks to life that has given me so much”. The summit is already close, from Here you can see the paths of ascent and I take photos. I went to look for snow to melt at 100mts, all in slow motion, I finish doing this and it starts to snow. In an hour everything was white, some began to throw snowballs, as you can see the spirit is excellent.

I am a little worried about the radio news that reports a storm in the high mountains, the people who love me must be scared, but we are very well and I have no way of communicating with anyone. Aconcagua Climb

Snowfall in summer is very rare in Nido de Cóndores and we had the privilege. We dined on sausages with mash and grated cheese for lack of butter and milk. Although it snowed all night we were not cold in the tent.

Aconcagua Climbing – How far in advance should you prepare your expedition?

When we arrived in Canada, I had to go get water from a small stream that was 500 meters from the camp and with a slope of 35 degrees, I got quite agitated. For those who have never been in these situations, it is like walking with shoes that weigh 5 kg each, climbing slopes. It is impossible to run or walk fast, one immediately becomes agitated, nausea, vomiting and headache appear. Aconcagua Expedition

With all this I was really tired, so we ate some delicious noodles with sauce and tuna, made by Mario and we fell asleep at 8 pm. I share the high mountain tent with Mario and Eduardo.

Eduardo couldn’t sleep all night and the next morning he wanted to go back. Insomnia, headache and the permanent feeling of shortness of breath are common, and will increase with altitude. They comment that in Berlin (6000mts) it is very difficult to sleep because of all this, due to these symptoms and the progressive weakening of the body due to lack of oxygen, it is necessary to stay as short as possible above 6000mts. Aconcagua Treks

I slept 4 hours straight and two intermittently. I have a feeling of tension in my head that does not become pain and fatigue if I move quickly, even changing clothes is done very slowly and it is very difficult to put on the boots, it takes me approximately 15 minutes, stopping several times.

For two days, Mario has an irritative cough that is quite annoying for him and those around him, this makes it difficult for him to sleep well, therefore the one who sleeps best, of the three, is me.

Tonight I plan to give 1.5 mg of bromazepam to each of my colleagues, because I think they are “over the top”. I was carrying a heavily loaded backpack, I estimate 15 kg, despite which we climbed from 4,200 to 4,910 (700mts) in 4 hours. It was a major effort done at a slow pace, about one short step per second. When you see the expeditions at this point they seem to go in slow motion and it really is the only way. Climb Aconcagua

“Human beings set goals throughout their existence. They reach some and set others… but what is an achievement worth if you are unable to enjoy life while it lasts and struggle to achieve it? Choose the most sublime goals, the life will take care of the rest”

Aconcagua Climbing – Ancient history on the Aconcagua hill

The Deed of Saint Martin

The epic of the Army of the Andes was unique due to its logistical and human aspects, comparable to those of the Carthaginian Hannibal or Napoleon, who crossed the Alps (through lower passes and with a more benign climate).

A part of the Army, commanded by General Gregorio de Las Heras, crossed through Uspallata, at almost 3,000 meters, with their belongings, weapons, ammunition and pack animals. Arriving in Chile, they defeated the Royalists in Chacabuco. Sealing the independence of the Southern Cone.

Tourism in Mount Aconcagua Park

There are two levels of tourism in Aconcagua Park, the “conventional” and the “athletic” (trekking and mountaineering). Let’s look at the options for each category:

Conventional Tourism Aconcagua Argentina

The Valle de los Horcones sector has the necessary infrastructure to receive visitors and is the most used for leisure, recreation and observation within the Park.

It is located on the valley of the same name, north of National Route 7, up to the confluence of the El Durazno stream and the Horcones river. It has interpretive trails, panoramic views (with signposts). It is the ideal circuit to photograph the park and observe its flora and fauna.

Guidelines to keep in mind:

Only circulate by car in the enabled accesses and only to the parking lot.

Bicycle: use the marked paths and up to the Quebrada del Durazno.

Camping for climbers who enter or leave the Park: maximum 24 hours.

Picnic only in the vicinity of the parking lot or where the Park Ranger designates.

The right to enter the park is charged at its access on National Route No. 7. In the place there are bathrooms and a small, short and very simple circuit with views of Aconcagua.

Andinism and Trekking

See the Official Website of the park.

They move in the area designated for such sports activities, that of Cerro Aconcagua. Area where camping, recreation and sports are held. The “approach camp” is allowed for those who trek and/or climb the approach routes of the Quebradas de Horcones and the Vacas River. The “Base Camps” and “high camps” are the ones made by climbers on their climbs. In general, the followers of trekking do not go beyond the Mirador del Paredón Sur. There is a one day trek, between 1/Nov and 30/Apr. It does not allow camping and is suitable for people over 13 years of age. The current cost for Argentines (2019-2020) is $400 and for foreigners $1,500.

Lagoon Circuit

It is short and costs $150 for Argentines and $300 for foreigners.

It is a self-guided trail, 1 hour long, of an easy level that can be done throughout the year. Even for children under 13 years old. Bring a coat, suitable sports shoes, a hat, sunscreen and a snack. There are no services in the circuit.

Aconcagua Climbing – Experience outside the Himalayas, Aconcagua

But I also think that we have an incomparable privilege, perhaps we are the only beings aware of the existence of the universe and when humans disappear, and that will happen at the latest when the sun goes out, if we don’t decide to destroy ourselves before, the universe will continue to exist with its great vitality, stars are permanently dying and being born, its rapid expansion that does not stop, but no one will be aware of these Aconcagua Ascents wonders, a living universe changing and uninhabited by a consciousness, and thinking about it, the human species will be a spark between the previous darkness and subsequent to its existence, that although for us who invented time, and who in general relate it to our short life, it can be a lot, for the universe that is billions of years old and with a future it is nothing more than a short and tiny spark, and I am part of that spark, I am aware of my smallness and my privilege and I try to imagine the greatness of the universe or without success…

Nor do I rule out the existence of some other inhabited planet, among so many millions of stars and planets and times as long as eternity, the conditions of ours or similar can be repeated, but contacts are practically impossible due to distances and times…

Everything is much more mysterious than is believed, and all this, (God… the universe… me), is just a mysterious corner of the unattainable truth. For example, I am standing and trying to climb a paleo volcano that is 10 million years old and 7000 m high… how are you? The things that one thinks at 5000 m. Monday 09 / 02 / 05 Aconcagua Guided Climb

At 11 a.m. we leave for Plaza Canada, this is the definitive exit, to attempt the summit, therefore we take everything we need to camp, all the high mountain clothing, I leave the traking boots, and I put on the double ones, the ones I I will use until the return. I am excited because the moment of the definitive effort is approaching, I can’t wait to see that beautiful south wall, whose photo I have at the foot of my bed and I have looked at daily before going out to train, filling me with energy Aconcagua Mountain Guides

In Canada we will continue to acclimatize in altitude, this is essential to slowly adapt the body, to function fully with little oxygen and very low atmospheric pressure. At the top of Aconcagua there is approximately half the oxygen and atmospheric pressure that in the City of Mendoza and to this we must add the effort of climbing with slopes between 30 and 45 degrees, we will see how it goes, I fully trust my strength of will and in the long training carried out, I am only afraid of the weather, with which I certainly cannot, and I do not intend to take unnecessary risks.