Peak(s):  Cerro Aconcagua - 22,841 feet
Date Posted:  02/01/2009
Modified:  12/08/2015
Date Climbed:   01/07/2009
Author:  benners

 Acon Says No  

TR here:


 Comments or Questions

Great report
02/05/2011 00:22
benners. Great report. Nice pictures. It’s good to hear that Ryan is healing well. You made a tough choice to turn around, however it sounds like it would have been risky to continue.

There are dirtbags lurking in all parts of the world and unfortunately you met up with some on this trip. But the warm part of your story is how there are many more good people and you were fortunate to meet several during your time in Argentina.


02/02/2009 03:25
I was on the Vacas Valley side while you were facing tall odds... thanks for the front line report. MountainHiker said it best, remember all the good people.


Awesome pics and report!
07/13/2009 02:15
Incredible and harrowing adventure. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.
Glad you guys are home!


Nice report Ben
02/02/2009 16:10
Glad you made the right decision on Acon and so glad Ryan was OK and you guys made it back to CO safely. Aconcagua will always be there - you should definitely go back and climb it someday. Its a great place down there. I‘m looking forward to goin back sometime in the next 5 years with my girlfriend and hopefully climbing the Polish Glacier.


02/02/2009 16:14
Ben, way to make the hard decision. I remember when I was there a couple years ago, and the guy leading our group (it was like his 7th summit of Acon or something) saying that people just disappear on that mountain. We‘re glad you didn‘t dissapear. Let‘s get out and do something tough soon.


02/05/2011 00:22
Wow, that’s a lifetime’s worth of experiences in less than a month! So glad to hear you both made it back intact. Going through all that money, time and trouble and not gaining the summit must be frustrating, but I’m sure the experiences you had, the people you met and the time you spent on that exotic mountain were priceless – making it all more than worth it. And just think, any future bad luck and/or obstacles you face (in life or climbing) will seem like nothing compared to what you went through. Thanks for sharing your story, and for telling it so honestly. Cheers!


What a story!
11/30/2010 17:28
This is a very nicely written report. I can't imagine going though what you guys did down there. I'm glad everything turned out OK and I'm really sorry the summit wasn't in the cards for you this trip. Its heartbreaking just reading about it.

The mugging story really creeps me out. I wandered around Mendoza alone at night while I was there. Probably not a good idea, but it seemed pretty safe at the time.


02/02/2009 18:43
Thanks for the write up. The pictures are amazing. Well done, if you want some people to partner up with for a return trip Jessica and I have this on our ”list” for 2010 or 2011...


02/02/2009 20:51
One of the best trip reports I have ever read Benners. Glad to hear Ryan is recovering well! You have some amazing pictures, and that seems like the experience of a lifetime!


Wow cubed!!
02/02/2009 22:01
Your first paragraph is so staggering it‘s hard to take in! Ditto on it‘s like you lived an entire life volume of adventure in just one trip! Maybe you can climb again someday with the Brazilian bros? Excellent and exciting read- thanks!

And it‘s amazing you‘re not affected at all clear up past 20k! Sounds like you have a rare Viestur‘s like physiology and you could do well way up there to 20k and beyond. Be extra careful up there in the jetstream


Very nice
11/30/2010 17:28
Extremely well written report. I feel for you not being able to summit, but being able to think clearly over summit fever is very admirable. I'm sure you feel good about being able to handle high altitude without problems, so undoubtedly there will be greater and even more grandeur peaks in the future! Thanks for sharing, glad you and Ryan made it back safely.

BTW, what camera did you use on this trip? You came back with some AMAZING shots!


Nice read
02/03/2009 00:26
I read this today while at work. Great read and good job on the mountain.


Thanks all,
11/30/2010 17:28
MountainHiker and schrund: I agree, the people I met on this trip made it all worthwhile, Mendoza is a great city, we just ran into a few not so great people.

Jordan: Thanks man, it was a very though decision at that point but I'm content with it, lemme know when and where you wanna climb and I'm there.

Aubrey: Very true, if I ever return I can almost guarantee the trip will go smoother .

SarahT: I know Mendoza doesn't give the impression of being a dangerous place at night, I honestly think it was just one of those wrong place at the wrong time instances.

Yog: Just my same old 6 megapixel point and shoot, and a disposable Fujifilm .


02/03/2009 18:31
That is the story of a lifetime!
It‘s obviously unfortunate that your partner was injured and several climbers were so unlucky, but that is an amazing story.

Just a confirmation that getting to the top isn‘t the only thing.


Amazing Report
02/03/2009 20:37
Thanks for the great report and excellent pics.

You can find bad people in the most unexpected places...but I‘m glad you guys made it through okay.

Wish I lived in CO

02/04/2009 13:38
Finally had time to read this report, easily the best TR of the year so far. I followed the thread earlier. Most importanly glad it ended safely. Godspeed.


Nice Choice!
02/04/2009 23:45
We were stuck at Camp Two on the Plaza Argentina side for three days (during your summit bid) before summitting on the fourth. There was too much death on the mountain during those two weeks (5 total deaths) and the winds and snows were fierce. You probably made the best decision of your life not to summit that day. The summit lenticular clouds were showing she meant business! A story you‘ll never forget!


What a great report
02/05/2009 19:26
Ben: I read your report and then read it again closer today. Wow, well done and the photos, some of the best I‘ve ever seen.

As I‘ve mentioned to you before I had a similar experience on Denali, alone and close to the top. I too chose to turn around (of course the forming lenticular cloud and chopper hauling off bodies helped with the decision) but it struck me reading your report again that your experience was probably sort of a Darwinian test: The climbers that thrive are the ones who have the judgment to know when to fold their tent, literally and figuratively. I‘m so glad you walked away with a great adventure and that all turned out OK. Well done.


Holy Crap!
02/08/2009 19:26
Hopefully a once in a lifetime experience. Glad you both made it out with your lives and tons of stories to tell for a lifetime.

Had summit fever before and it is right to turn around. Not sure I know the Ed Viesturs quote but it goes something like this. Getting to the top is only half the battle, you must get down.

You did an awesome job with the TR and took some great pics. Thanks for sharing a tough trip.


02/09/2009 00:34
The pictures are incredible!!! Camp Confluencia looks like a side-line bleacher stand at a soccer game!
Sh*t, Ben. I‘m so sorry to hear of all the misfortunes on what should have been a great mountain experience. Between Ryan getting HAPE and stabbed/mugged in Mendoza, it would be hard as hell to keep a positive atitude. I‘ve gotta tip my hat at you for being so humble about all of it. Losing Ryan at such an early stage of the trip would be really disconcerting to me. I can‘t imagine how it bothered you. I suppose, receiving such generosity from ‘strangers‘ BUT fellow mountaineers, was a very welcome relief and comforting as well.

You know, for not summiting Acon, I think you received a just reward. It‘s those times of emergency that we all fear & hope to never experience but you lived through it by wise-decision making and commodery from strangers and gleamed the wisdom that such instances imparts. Ben, I think that‘s HUGE! You could have very easily become another Acon statistic.
BTW: Keep December open my friend.
This is a trip report of the highest caliber.


10/25/2012 02:23
Just got referred to your tr from a recent acon thread. Unreal story. Glad to hear that all turned out ok. How do u feel now? Ready to go back?


11/15/2012 18:03
Thanks, I'm glad as well! It's amazing how much my perspective has changed in the past 4 years since my Aconcagua experience. I can say that my interest in heading back it little to none. When I factor in the time off, money, planning and logistics, time away from my wife, and the rest of the effort and resources this mountain demands, I can honeslty say that I'm just not that interested anymore. I got 90% of the way and got to experience a ”big” mountain, learned some great things about myself, and came out better for it, and I just couldn't imagine topping that.

When I think of what alternate trips I could do with the same time and money that an Aconcagua expedition would require, it's pretty amazing what I can come up with right here in the lower 48. I suppose I don't really understand why one would need to head any further than the Rockies, Sierras, Tetons, and PNW, but that's just my opinion on the matter. I think my short ”big” mountain career is mostly over. All that said, if someone came to me and said they'd pay my way and I had the time, I'd head back I think.

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