Peak(s):  Aconcagua - 22,840 feet
Date Posted:  12/27/2009
Date Climbed:   12/01/2009
Author:  ulvetano
 Aconcagua - Polish Glacier Traverse  

Thanks to everyone in the forum for helping with trip planning info for my adventure down to Acon this month!! It was invaluable!

I've written a bit about the trip on my blog, so won't belabor the point here, but it went like this:
Flew from Denver to Toronto to Santiago to Mendoza and arrived on saturday morning. Spent one night in Mendoza and then headed by bus to Penitentes, where I spent the night a hostel (nice place).
The next morning, my mule company, Fernando Grajales, dropped me at the TH to Vacas Valley and I headed up to the valley solo. The following day to Piedra, and then to Argentina basecamp.
Day 4 - did a carry to Camp 1 at 16k. This day is phenomenal as it gets you onto the snow and inbetween the penitentes, and under some beautiful morraines.
Day 5 - Climbed to Camp 1
Day 6 - Carry to Camp 2
Day 7 - Rest day at Camp 1
Day 8 - Climbed to Camp 2
Day 9 - "Summit Day" - I felt great all the way up, save some shortness of breath during my first night at Camp 1. Upon arrival to Camp 2, I was the only climber and the winds were high, but the skies relatively clear. The morning of my summit day involved packing all gear into one pack and crossing the traverse with my 82lbs. After about 20 min of final prep/packing, the toes on my right foot were frozen and my foot was rapidly getting colder. Made a quick decision to re-set the tent, get in and warm up the toes in the sleeping bag. It was a scary few moments, but eventually all was good. I repacked and tried traverse, but quickly realized by toes was hurting badly and the weight of the pack was too much for me. I broke off the trail and began a downwards traverse to join the Normal route. Eventually I found Nido de Condores camp, but was thoroughly exhausted. Warmed up in the ranger's hut and then continued down to Plaza de Mulas.
Day 10 - Did the hike out to Horcones TH. Long, long, long....

My recomendation to anyone doing the Traverse is to return via Argentina, using Camp 2, as your bascamp and avoiding the heavy carry across the traverse. All in all, and beautiful, but cold and windy trip. Amazing country down there....

Tons of pics:

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice Work!
12/28/2009 01:28
That traverse is a heart attack, we took 17 days to do this route~ doing as much as you did in 10 is a super effort.


12/28/2009 16:29
I was just reading the Frostbite chapter in Jonathan Waterman‘s ”Surviving: A Study of Accidents on Mount McKinley” and was kind of sickened by the common causes of frostbite, which have less to do with the right gear and a lot to do with listening to your body, and taking care of it. I really enjoyed your story, thanks for posting it. You could have just as easily been that American up there, dead on the summit, had you continued on without listening to your feet. Welcome back.


01/04/2010 20:58
Solo, wow! You da man.
Great effort and I bet, a fantastic trip.
Beautiful, isn‘t it?

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