Aconcagua Climbing – How to use crampons in the snow

Fernando arrived, who commands the expedition. His presence is very important because he balances the group, plus he is the one with the most experience and knowledge. Welcome dear Fernando!!!

They are discussing where to spend the night before attempting the summit, on Thursday or Friday. Originally it was Nido de Cóndores, now Berlin is 400mts higher (6000mts) which means 2 hours less walking the day we will attempt the summit. Aconcagua

I will support what Fernando says, who commands the expedition. For me he must make the decision and take responsibility for it.

I’m going to try to rent a sleeping bag thicker than mine because here with 10 degrees below zero it works fine, but with 25 degrees below zero I don’t know what will happen, and that’s the probable temperature in Berlin.

Today I tried to communicate with the whole family, but I only managed to talk to Pablo and Chichi (Lili’s mother). I told them about our current plans and experiences and gave them the numbers to call Lili, the girls and mom (Cuca’s phone number). did not answer) I was moved when I spoke with Pablo and told him about the importance of loved ones in these extreme experiences. Aconcagua 360 Route

At approximately 9:00 p.m. I started looking at the stars with my long eyes, I never get tired of doing it and here, due to the height and the absence of smog, that poison that “progress” generates, they look spectacular. I brought a photocopy of the star map of Carlita’s book, and I quickly began to identify the different constellations, starting from the well-known and easily identifiable ones such as the Southern Cross to the south and Orion to the north, so they appeared, “La Popa” ,”La Vela” “Carina” next to Canopus, that great star that, together with Sirius, is one of the brightest and that since ancient times served as a guide for navigators and it is from them that one is oriented to identify the less bright ones. my view Taurus, Gemini, Canis Major and Minor, alpha and beta Centauri, the closest stars only 20 light years from the sun, the Magellanic clouds which are the closest galaxies to ours and discovered by the famous navigator and the beautifull s Pleiades… what a privilege to be able to see and enjoy this, how many men and women from the beginning of humanity, (100 thousand years ago) will have been moved by this spectacle, the same because for the How to Climb Aconcagua universe 100 thousand years is not time, how many questions They will have done looking at the tremendous immensity of the universe, which, as we now know, is approximately fifteen billion years old and has dimensions incomprehensible to the human mind… For example, the Milky Way, our great galaxy, is 100,000 light years in diameter (traveling to 300 thousand km per second for 100 thousand years!!!) and there are millions of galaxies and billions of stars… I remember that Carl Sagan, in his book Cosmos, says that … the sun and our beloved earth with 4700 million years old etc… I try to imagine looking at the sky these dimensions and these times, my capacity is totally exceeded…

Aconcagua Climbing – Argentina awaits you to climb the Aconcagua

The Aconcagua Provincial Park is very close to Route 40, and to the city of Mendoza, it allows access to the highest mountain in the world outside of Asia, Cerro Aconcagua, 6,960 m high.

On this page we give you information on how to get there, when to visit it, what there is to see and do. This provincial park is located about 190 km from the capital of Mendoza, very close to the border with Chile.

It has an area of ​​71,000 ha. It was created in 1983 in order to protect the flora, fauna and archaeological material around the highest peak in America (and also in the western and southern hemispheres); in fact, it is the biggest peak in the world outside of Asia: Cerro Aconcagua, with 6,960 meters of height. Without a doubt, the Cordillera de los Andes is the main element of the park. The Cordillera is not a monolithic unit but is subdivided into three differentiated bands and the Andes between 28° and 34° S, are subdivided into two cords that run parallel:

The first, to the east, or Cordillera Frontal, closer to the city of Mendoza and the Uco Valley.

Climb Aconcagua

The second to the west, which is where the Park is located, called Cordillera Principal or Cordillera del Limite. Its width in this area is about 30 km.

Both cords are differentiated by the type of rocks that compose them: the “Main” is made up of marine sediments with Jurassic and Cretaceous fossils.

Aconcagua, unlike other peaks in the area, such as the nearby Cerro Tupungato, is not volcanic but has been raised by tectonic forces that raised the Cordillera.

It is surrounded by hills over 5,000 m high, such as the Cuerno, Catedral, Bonete and Mirador.

The high peaks are covered with glaciers. The melting winter snow forms Penitentes about 2 to 3 m high, in the form of sharp, aligned and erect mounds.

The Name: Aconcagua

The natives used a Quechua word to name this mass of almost 7 km in height: Aconcagua, which means “Stone Sentinel”

The rivers that irrigate the foothill oases of northern Mendoza (the Mendoza, Tunuyán, Diamante, and Atuel rivers) rise in the mountainous area and are fed by melting ice in spring.

The Mendoza River receives part of its waters from Aconcagua since its tributaries: the Horcones River (to the west and southwest of the Park) and the Las Vacas River (to the north and east) come down from the Aconcagua Expedition

Weather in Aconcagua hike

It is temperate semi-arid mountain. With summer rains and in winter, rainfall from the Pacific.

The Zonda wind is characteristic of the area, warm, dry and carrying a lot of dust in suspension.

The height makes the thermal amplitude great: in summer temperatures can drop below -20°C at heights above 5,000 m.

Even at lower altitudes, the daily thermal amplitude is considerable and even in summer it is cold. The wind can aggravate the low wind chill. Always wear warm clothes.

Aconcagua Climbing – Always listen to the advice of the guide

Today there is a discussion about the dinner menu, half the group wants capletines and the other half polenta, tomorrow when I write the diary the mystery will have been revealed. It’s 5 pm and I’m going to read a little.

Tomorrow we are going to carry food to Nido de Cóndores (5500 meters), so we will go up with more weight than today, we will see how it goes. I hope the weather is with us.

Today I had a medical check-up, in the health tent in Plaza de Mulas, (in Mendoza I have 60) and an oxygen saturation of 80% (in Mendoza I have 94%) given the height all good.

Saturday 07 /02 /05

“No, to remain and pass, is not to endure, it is not to exist, nor to honor life. There are so many ways of not being, so much consciousness without knowing numb… because it is not the same as living… honoring life ”

We leave at 10 a.m. for Nido de Cóndores (5500mts), we pass through Plaza Canada at 1:30 p.m. and arrive at Nido de Cóndores at 3 p.m.

We made a good time but the effort was great, in the last 300 meters I understood what it means to climb with the head. There comes a time when the legs do not want more, in any other situation one stops, but here you have to continue, then you start thinking about your great and beautiful dream, about your loved ones, about all those who trust in you and in your commitment, it’s incredible but I imagined them all Aconcagua Hike encouraging me Cuca, Carlos, Guillermo, Liliana, Pablo, Gonzalo, Jimena, Carla and Paula I dedicated several minutes to each one and they all gave me energy. Also my dear friends from the mountain José Luis, Sergio and Hugo with whom I climbed Lanín. I am sure that they are not here physically for other reasons , but they are with me spiritually and they also gave me their energy . Everyone told me that I could and the energy came back!!! I arrived with tears in my eyes, like now when I write this remembering everything, what I am experiencing is very strong and I thank life for this opportunity. I wonder if this is how the 5500mts are like the 7000mts will be… I’ll solve it in due course. Aconcagua Expeditions

I brought hot tea of ​​different herbs, I drank it when I arrived and vomited immediately, tea was always poison for me, the question is why do I experiment at this point, is it the lack of oxygen? They took a picture of me throwing it away with a lot of anger. Aconcagua Climb

The descent cost me a lot, I felt my legs were weak.

Aconcagua Climbing – A dream climb

High mountain excursion through the Andes: visit to Uspallata, Puente del Inca and Cristo Redentor. It does not enter the Provincial Park, only Aconcagua Argentina can be seen from the outside.

Excursion to the Aconcagua Provincial Park: walk to the Laguna de Horcones within the Provincial Park. Low difficulty.

Trekking to Confluencia base camp: trek from the entrance of the Aconcagua Provincial Park to Confluencia, the first base camp. Medium difficulty.

How to get to Aconcagua from Santiago de Chile

If you live or are going to travel alone to Santiago de Chile and want to take an excursion to Aconcagua, you basically have two options: travel by car or join a full-day tour from the capital. In any case,remember that you have to cross the border with Argentina, both on the way out and on the way back, which can make you lose several hours. Argentina

If you dare to travel by car, you have to follow Route 57, which in Los Andes becomes Route 60. Once in Argentina, the road becomes Route 7 and you will only have a few kilometers left until the entrance of the Provincial Park. Aconcagua.

In case you do not have a car, I am sorry to tell you that it is not possible to go by public transport. You would have to go to Mendoza first, which is not feasible for one day. Therefore, the alternative is to take a full-day guided tour from Santiago de Chile. This tour will allow you to make a small trail inside the Provincial Park and get to know other places along the way. You can reserve it here.

What to see on Mount Aconcagua

When planning your visit to Aconcagua there are several places that you should be clear about. You should spend more or less time exploring the Provincial Park.

The main access is on Route 7 and is the Horcones Visitor Center. The main hiking trails start from there. Although there are other accessible places in the park, I am going to focus on the part that I know and that is the one that most people visit.

Horcones Lagoon

The route that most visitors to the Aconcagua Provincial Park follow is the one that takes you to Laguna de Horcones. It is a very simple route that will take you between 1 and 2 hours round trip, depending on how much you spend taking photos. In addition to seeing this small lagoon, there is a viewpoint to Cerro Aconcagua (the typical image of the park).

Aconcagua Climbing – How to set up my expedition to Aconcagua

In the building you can ask for advice and they will indicate the most advisable route. The usual thing for those who do not intend to make a great physical effort, is to do the Laguna de los Horcones trail.

It’s a few kilometers, which takes about an hour to get there and back. During the tour, you will see the majesty of Aconcagua from different views and you will reach the lagoon, which will have more or less water depending on the time of year.

It is a very quiet walk in which, by the way, you will notice the lack of oxygen. You are almost 3,000 meters above sea level and your body warns you that it will take a few minutes to acclimatize to this new environment.

trekking

If you go to do any of the trekking circuits, you should check if you need prior permission. In any case, if they request a registration on the Park’s website.

There are one-day, three-day and seven-day circuits.

Preparations for the excursion Aconcagua Mountain Guides 

The road to Mount Aconcagua is in good condition, but there are many kilometers without any civilization around it. In addition to filling the tank of the car before leaving, it is important to remember:

Bring water and food. Although in the towns you will find places to buy food.

Sunscreen. Here the sun burns even if you are inside a vehicle. Don’t forget sunglasses and a hat either.

An outerwear. Although you travel in summer, it is windy and the breeze is fresh.

Check the weather before starting the trip.

Finally, there are speed cameras. If you see the other cars stop, do the same, since most of them are not marked. Aconcagua Provincial Park is one of the 17 protected areas in the province of Mendoza, created by Provincial Law in 1983. Nearly 1,200,000 people visit our nature reserves each year and Aconcagua Park is one of the most visited. 

Aconcagua Ascents

National and foreign tourists travel each year to the nature reserve to walk its trails and circuits. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic this stopped. From Atardecid@s they spoke with Lucas Aros, Guadaparques del Cerro Aconcagua who provided details of the tasks they carried out during the pandemic and what changes they made to the hill. Aconcagua Park is an icon for Mendoza, for Argentina and for America. It is the highest summit in the Americas and as such is of global importance” commented Lucas Aros- Guadaparques del 

Aconcagua Treks

The Aconcagua Provincial Park depends on the Directorate of Natural Resources of the Ministry of Land, Environment and Natural Resources of the province of Mendoza. The contribution of the public sector is basically provided by the park rangers, the most important presence of the Directorate of Resources with personnel who work in the different camps.

Aconcagua Climbing – Protected areas near Aconcagua

The Puente del Inca is a protected area, very close to the entrance to Aconcagua Park. It is a rock formation suspended above the Las Cuevas River at a height of 27 meters.

It is made up of sediments and other types of materials. Under the formation there are stalactites.

Since 2006 it is forbidden to cross the bridge, due to landslides and cracks in the rock. For years the waters of the river were used as thermal springs, since it has healing properties. Experts believe that the use of water caused water stress to the bridge, which, together with the passage of goods, caused the cracks that led to its closure.

Aconcagua 360 Route

Around the bridge there are some shops that sell local products and many others serve food. Barely more than 100 people live in this town, many of them assigned to the barracks. The train track that you will see throughout the journey to the Aconcagua hill, corresponds to the old Trans-Andean Railway, which made the journey from Los Andes to Mendoza since 1910.

But as you will see along the way, the difficulties due to time, orography and landslides made the train stop working in 1984. 

How to Climb Aconcagua

At the time, the construction of the road was a challenge for engineering, since they had to use state-of-the-art technology. Currently there are several areas of the road where you can stop very close to the road and take some photos. The one that accompanies this text was made by returning to Mendoza, just after leaving El Puente del Inca, next to a small cemetery.

An Argentine company has proposed to resume the project and make the train work again, although it will spend a lot of money if it wants the track not to suffer the same fate as before. The reservoir is 30 kilometers from Mendoza. It was open in 2003 and has a height of 116 meters.

Because the water comes from melting ice, its color is less dark. The people of Mendoza usually go to the reservoir to enjoy the bath in the summer.

It is normal for them to even park their cars and vans very close to the water, although access is prohibited. There are also water activities such as rafting and sailing. 

Aconcagua Guided Climb

Activities in Aconcagua Park

If you only go up to admire the views and sightsee, you can buy the entrance to the Park right there. At the entrance there is a parking lot with a small building and some free toilets.

To the right of this building there is a dirt road marked with ropes that leads to the first viewpoint. It is usually empty and if the weather is good it makes for a spectacular photo.

After paying the entrance fee you can enter the park and start the tour.

Aconcagua Argentina – Unforgettable mountain experience

Its harsh climatic conditions allow the life of flora and fauna that are adaptable to the cold, such as species of herbs and small vertebrate animals. Its parts of plains present pastures that are called vegas.

Aconcagua Mountain Guides

It is a territory of cultural abundance. Since the times of the Inca Empire, man has modified this land to be able to move. They left an important mark on the Inca Trail, which represents an extensive road network that used to connect our territory with neighboring countries.

Aconcagua Ascents

Depending on the duration of the activities and their complexity, Aconcagua Park has various adventures. And it is always advisable to plan the visit beforehand, since not only specific material things are necessary, but also forms and permits.

Trekking. The most beautiful and refreshing walks find their space in the Laguna de Horcones Circuit.

Aconcagua Treks

trekking. Exciting way to walk in the form of an excursion and recreate the view. There are short, long and full day types and they have different degrees of difficulty. They are only available in summer.

Ascents and mountaineering. It is entered through the valley of the Horcones River or through Punta de Vacas. For the latter and the long trek, it is necessary to take out insurance that covers possible search, rescue and evacuation operations. In addition, a prior medical check-up must be presented.

It is important at this point to abide by the recommendations of the experts. There are some people who can suffer from mountain or altitude sickness, whose symptoms are generally treatable starting with an analgesic, but if the advice and alarms of the body itself are ignored, it can be fatal.

The park and the town of Las Heras in general provide necessary medical services; and if they have social work they can be treated, for example, at the aconcagua clinic. But there is no sanatorium in Aconcagua near the park.

It is a park that has public services such as park rangers, whose tasks are to provide information to visitors and enforce current conservation and operation regulations. In addition, in season it has Medical Assistance in the Confluencia, Plaza de Mulas and Plaza Argentina Camps. Near its entrance, there is a viewpoint to enjoy a perfect landscape.

Visits. Near the Hotel Aconcagua, it is possible to access the Universidad del Aconcagua, which emerged from the merger of two institutes. Today, the higher academic center known as Aconcagua University teaches courses in its faculties and promotes research. Also in that area, you can see the monument to the flag, the theater, different wine bars, the casino, the historical archive of Mendoza and the Museum of the Cuyano Past, among many other places for walks and shopping for wines, sweets, handicrafts and souvenirs. .

 

Aconcagua Argentina – adventures in south america

Aconcagua Mountain

At his feet, we realize how small we are. The Aconcagua inspires respect in the most reverent and at the same time pride in the adventurers. Let’s learn more about this mountain.

How tall is Aconcagua?

The Aconcagua is geographically located in the department of Las Heras in the northwest of the Province of Mendoza. It is a mountain and is part of the Cordillera de los Andes, integrating the Cordillera Principal (see map). It is the highest peak in the American continent and the second on the planet, after the Asian Himalayas. How tall is Aconcagua? Its North Summit measures 6,960.80 meters above sea level and its South Summit, 6,930 meters above sea level.

Also called Cerro Aconcagua, the formation is geologically recent as this massif was the product of the sinking of the Nazca tectonic plate below the South American Plate, in the Triacic period.

The Weather on the Aconcagua 360 Route

In Aconcagua height and extreme go hand in hand. Due to the altitude, first of all, the exposure to solar radiation is high. Secondly, its arid and dry climate forces the body to lose fluids, so it is important not only to protect yourself from UV rays but also to be adequately hydrated.

Thirdly, the thermal amplitude is excessive because during the day the heat is perceived but at the beginning of the sunset, the temperature drops drastically. Although this mountain climate reigns in the lower valleys, these changes between day and night are more aggressive as you ascend the Cerro, climbers realize this.

How to Climb Aconcagua

Finally, we must bear in mind that it is a territory crossed by strong winds of up to 200 kilometers per hour.

How to get to Aconcagua

Before knowing the majesty of this mountain, it is necessary to enter the Mendoza territory. It is possible to use terrestrial means and enjoy the crossing from the first minute. For this we have, for example, with the comfortable services of the San Juan Mar del Plata Company and its modern fleet of buses.

Long-distance buses usually use the facilities of the Mendoza Bus Terminal, located in the town of Guaymallén and known as the Terminal del Sol, with all the services for travelers.

The best accommodation option is the Hotel Aconcagua, also known as Hotel Raíces Aconcagua. It has complete comforts and services of a special category, located in the heart of Mendoza, a few blocks from the Aconcagua sanatorium.

Aconcagua Guided Climb

adventures for all

The great view of the Cerro gives rise to different activities both in its valleys and on its slopes. But for all the recommendation is the same: if you suffer any discomfort due to altitude, you have to know that there is no clinic in Aconcagua to be treated. Let’s discover some places and things to do.

Aconcagua Provincial Park

Its location is 183 kilometers from the capital of Mendoza and is accessed by National Route 7. It was declared a protected natural area in 1983, along with nine other natural sections in Mendoza. It is a vast area of ​​pure mountain ranges of various colors, levels and heights where only the highest peaks are home to glaciers, which are the source of the planet’s most valuable natural resource: fresh water. In addition, it presents immense areas of valleys.

Aconcagua Argentina – 6 months of prior preparation

This exit variant simplifies the climb of the last third of the South wall.

From the “Upper Glacier”, instead of going to the right in search of the base of the spur that the French followed in 1954, take a clear left of the visual vertical of the northern peak. In the direction of the “Guanaco” pass that extends between the two peaks of the mountain.

Aconcagua Mountain Guides

Climb the slopes of ice and snow that lead to an obvious rocky fringe. Slopes from 50° to 55°. The rocky strip is climbed in an ascending traverse to the left, 5 or 6 pitches of mixed terrain, (IV) and some passage of (V). Belay possibilities on natural ledges, poor quality rock. The start, depending on the general snow conditions, can be on very dangerous frozen mud.

The beginning of the slope of ice and terminal snow is thus gained. This large, very open terminal channel has an average slope of 50°. It is dominated to the left by a large hanging serac that is threatening and dangerous in the event of landslides.

Go straight up the great channel to a small rocky barrier (6,700 m), go around it to the left and continue until you reach the “guanaco” crest or summit ridge. From the “Upper Glacier” to the crest about 8-12 hours. It is possible to bivouac in the lateral cracks of the hanging serac (6,650 m). From the starting point to the top there are about 2 hours.

Aconcagua Ascents

When the conditions of the wall are unfavorable (excessive accumulation of recent snow or, on the contrary, a winter with few snowfalls), the Messner variant is dangerous; Therefore, the original exit/54 is advisable, technically more difficult, but exposed to fewer objective dangers. If the snow is abundant, the dangers of being swept away by an avalanche in the “Messner Canal” are very great. Likewise, when there is little consistent snow that fixes the rocks of the top edge and other upper areas, the channel collects the constant falls of fast projectiles.

Beyond difficulties and dangers, the Messner/74 route is the most elegant route on the southern wall of Aconcagua, after the Slovenian route/82, direct to the southern peak. Plaza Argentina is located at 4,100 meters and is a good place to camp. To access this place, you start from the town of Punta de Vacas (2,400 m) and go up the “de las Vacas” river to the north. There is water and firewood throughout the creek, the path is well marked.

Aconcagua Treks

On the orographic right bank of the «de las Vacas» river, 15 km away is the «Casa de las Leñas» refuge (2,350 m). At 31 km (from Punta de Vacas) you cross the river of Las Vacas. Finally, and on the orographic left bank of the same river, rises the small shelter «Casa de piedra» (3,060 m), 47 km from the starting point, just in front of the mouth of the «de los Relinchos» ravine. This small shelter blends in with the landscape and is difficult to find, there is water in the area.

Aconcagua Climbing – How to Prevent Mountain Diseases

For athletes who come from the plains or low altitude places, a stay of 2 or 3 days in Puente del Inca is advisable. During the visit to this area, walks and ascents can be made in adjacent hills, which contribute to better acclimatization. Another highly advisable attitude would be to arrange the shipment of the more significant load by mules to the base camp, and then the members make the journey on foot.

A moderate gait requires a walk that can be done comfortably in two days: the first to Confluencia (Horcones Inferior) and Plaza de Mulas. It is recommended to make animal reservations well in advance. Once the Aconcagua Argentina Base Camp has been installed, acclimatization practices will be carried out, the surroundings. Depending on the physical conditions, you can try the ascent of Cerro Catedral or Cuerno; failing that, the cargo can be transferred to the high altitude camps and returned to Plaza de Mulas. This practice of ascending and descending at a lower altitude greatly benefits acclimatization. According to scientific reports, the acclimatization period varies according to people .young people acclimatize worse; the best age is between 30 and 40 or 45 years old. Nervous balance is critical in acclimatization.

Another problem to consider is the descent of Mount Aconcagua. If you sleep poorly, you recover badly. Very mild sleeping pills must be administered. Suppose acclimatization is a corrective phenomenon of the elements put to the test and always compatible with life. In that case, adaptation is a harsh discipline of the organism that seeks to compensate the limits of what is possible, the elements incompatible with life: the rarefaction of the air, the decrease in atmospheric pressure, cold, dryness, alkalosis, etc.

At altitudes above 6,500 meters. (maximum acclimatization zone), the individual lives only from his reserves from the need to interrupt the stay in the high altitudes descending to the points where he can recover. In this way, with frequent rocking, acclimatization can be achieved. The maximum time to stay at that altitude can be determined without the appearance of deterioration phenomena, a severe alarm signal. The “mountain sickness” usually manifests itself through the following symptoms:

Acute malaise with headaches, nausea, vomiting, feeling sick, and feeling sick.

Brain edema with severe headache, unsteady gait, mental and visual disturbances, nausea, coma, etc.

Pulmonary edema manifested through respiratory difficulties, cyanosis, tachycardia, cough, restlessness, etc., is typical in Aconcagua.

These signs and symptoms overlap in such a way that they often occur in combination. They are stages of the same process and have a common denominator: the decrease of oxygen in the air. All these manifestations can be prevented and overcome by adequate acclimatization. Knowing the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness will allow the athlete to avoid severe disorders, even death, which can occur briefly. Patients who descend rapidly to lower heights generally recover well, which is not the case with those who do not do so in time. The recommended behavior in such cases is to descend to a lower altitude when the slightest symptom of the illness is noticed.