Peak(s):  Cerro Aconcagua - 22,841 feet
Date Posted:  01/31/2009
Modified:  02/01/2009
Date Climbed:   01/18/2009
Author:  schrund
 Cerro Aconcagua 22,841  

We departed the TH for the Vacas River Valley on January 4th Image.

It's a 25-30 mile approach to Plaza de Argentina base camp
via Pampa de Lenas
and Casa de Piedra

Along the way we got our first glimpse of the beast Image.

On the morning of Day III a painfully cold river crossing awaits across the Vacas River Image.

From there it's a 3,000' gain up to Plaza de Argentina Image.

Mules carried most of our stuff to base camp and we did double carries above base camp. Camp I (15,500') was just below the traditional Polish camp I, at the base of a huge tower. Above that we navigated some Penetentes Image

and arrived at camp II on the Amaghino / Aconcagua Col at 17,200' Image.

Camp III was at 19,200' immediately at the base of the Polish Glacier Image.

Our initial plans included an ascent of the glacier, until we later realized how whooped we were and settled for the traditional NW ridge. Guess who we ran into along the way? None other than Mr. Ed Viesturs

(honest, that's him). Camp IV was just below the Independencia Hut at 20,800' Image.

Summit day included another 2000' of gain, by which point were rest stepping in-between rest steps. Good grief there's not much air up there. Just below the summit is the Canaleta

an 800' colouir leading the the summit ridge

After the summit

we descended to Plaza de Mulas base camp

and passed Berlin camp along the way

Here's the view looking back at the giant

And from there back out to the highway to the ski town of Penetentes, and back to Mendoza for some much anticipated showers and cervezas. Mendoza was a great time, very friendly people and great food. It was a blast, there was some sort of wine festival going on and it was about Argetinian wine - not a bad thing.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Congrats on the summit...
02/01/2009 15:34
and thanks for posting this trip report. I hear there have been some tragedies down there this year...glad you had a good trip. How did the Polish Glacier look? I‘ve read mixed descriptons on it. Thanks.


Polish Looked Awesome
02/01/2009 16:58
We started hearing about those tragedies on our approach, not good. One of our guides commented that he had never seen the Polish look any better. It looked very climbable to me, but it does get steep - and it‘s all over 20k - gotta bring your A game for that one.


02/01/2009 22:33
Very familiar. Nice TR. You had a bit more snow than we did up high around the same time of year. How come you opted for so many camps?


02/01/2009 23:00
Thanks, it was fun. We went with a fully guided trip. Alpine Ascents has apparently had good success with that itinerary. I heard a group ahead of us did not summit in part because of so much snow. I am now longing for more weather friendly Colorado summer 14ers!


02/02/2009 04:01
Really pleased you made it. I did not.
My group had much the same dates at you did. Only two of our 7 made it to the summit on the 18th. I am told 60 made it on the 16th. I also met Ed Viesturs, but in the Mendoza airport on the way out, he was at P. Argentina and Camp I some of the days we were there.

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