Saturday, December 5, 2009

Here is the climbing Schedule, you can reference this as the days progress

Dec 12: Depart Country of Origin.

Dec 13: Arrive Mendoza, Argentina. Climbers should arrive before 5 pm if possible. We will have an orientation for the climb, a Leave No Trace discussion, and equipment check. This will be followed by a group dinner in one of Mendoza's finest restaurants.

Dec 14: After completing the permit process, we board our private bus to the town of Penitentes. In Penitentes, we organize mule loads and spend the night.

Dec 15 - 17: After one night in Penitentes, we drive 15 minutes to Punta de Vacas (8,000’), where we will begin our three-day, 30 mile trek into Plaza Argentina (13,800’), base camp for our expedition. Mules will carry all of our gear so we can enjoy the trek without heavy loads. On the approach, we walk through green desert valleys dramatically enclosed between the mountains of the Andes. During the first half of the approach, our objective will remain hidden by the nearby mountains. However, at the end of the second day the stunning east face of Aconcagua will dramatically be revealed.

Dec 18: After our arrival at Plaza Argentina, we set up camp and spend the next day preparing for the climb, exploring the local terrain and acclimatizing to the higher altitude.

Dec 19: Carry to Camp I. Camp I is located behind an old moraine at 15,500’. This camp is very private and only Alpine Ascents uses it. We double carry to keep pack weight down and to help ensure good acclimatization.

Dec 20: Move to Camp I.

Dec 21: This day we carry to Camp II, located on a high pass known as Ameghino Col, at 17,700’. Ameghino Camp provides spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and the upper route of the Polish Glacier.

Dec 22: Rest day at Camp I. This gives us further acclimatization time and rest before moving higher to sleep.

Dec 23: Carry and move to Camp II.

Dec 24: Carry to Camp III (19,200’), located just below the Polish Glacier, then return to Camp II.

Dec 25: Move to Camp III.

Dec 26: Rest and acclimatization at Camp III. This will prepare us for our move to Camp IV (high camp)

Dec 27: Move to high camp, Camp IV (20,600’), located on the North Ridge. On the approach, we enjoy magnificent views of the Polish Glacier. Camp IV offers breathtaking scenes of many of the highest peaks of the Andes.

Dec 28: Summit day begins at 5:00 am. We climb the North Ridge to Refugio Independencia at approximately 21,400’. From there, we traverse the West Face and climb up into the Canaleta, an 800’ couloir that leads to the summit ridge. Finally, the Guanaco Ridge poses an easy traverse to the summit. On the top we have a spectacular 360ยบ view. All around you will see the Andes Mountains consisting of several 20,000’ peaks, including another of the highest peaks in South America, Mercedario. To the west lies Chile and the Pacific Ocean, and to the east, the plains of Argentina. Also from the summit you will be able to look directly down the 9,000’ South Face of Aconcagua, considered one of the great faces of the world. Also included are acclimatization, rest and bad weather days.

Dec 29 - 30: These extra days are built in to provide the best possible conditions for each participant to summit.

Dec 31: We descend form high camp to Plaza de Mulas (Base Camp on the West side of the mountain).

Jan 1: Trek out from Plaza de Mulas to Punta del Inca, where we take a car back to Penitentes for the night.

Jan 2: Return to Mendoza and the Hyatt Hotel, to celebrate our time in the mountains and enjoy the comforts of Argentina.

Jan 3: Depart Mendoza.

Jan 4: Arrive Country of Origin.

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