Aconcagua - The Stone Sentinel
At 22,835 feet, Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the western hemisphere. Here are photos from a February 2000 expedition.
This photo is more indicative of Aconcagua, it is not an attractive mountain when seen up close.
The Andinista cemetery located on the road to the mountain holds the graves of climbers who did not make the round trip alive.
Before beginning out walk up the Vacas valley, we paused for a group photo.
A rest break on the hike to base camp.
On the 3 day hike to base camp mules carried our bags each day.
The Vacas and upper Vacas valley are mostly barren.
Penitentes are columns of snow found on the mountain.
Climbing toward camp 1 - There is very littele snow on Aconcagua, most of it is crumbling rocks.
On the way back down several of us stayed in this muleteers hut in the Vacas valley when the weather turned bad. A muleteer showed up later but let us stay inside.
The Aconcagua journey starts and ends in Mendoza, Argentina where permits for the mountain are issued. Mendoza has a pedestrian street full of bars and cafes.
Here is the schedule for climbing Aconcagua via the Vacas / Upper Vacas route, which is one of the least climbed routes. Most people take the normal route which uses the Horcones valley. The elevations are approximate.
|1||Mendoza||2,500||Punta de Vacas Hosteria||8,500|
|2||Vacas Trailhead||8,300||La Lena Camp||9,800|
|3||La Lena Camp||9,800||Casa de Peidra||11,000|
|4||Casa de Peidra||11,000||Base Camp||12,300|
|5||Base Camp||12,300||Carry to Camp 1 at 14,200||12,300|
|6||Base Camp||12,300||Move to Camp 1||14,200|
|7||Camp 1||14,200||Carry to Camp 2 at 16,200||14,200|
|8||Camp 1||14,200||Rest Day||14,200|
|9||Camp 1||14,200||Move to Camp 2||16,200|
|10||Camp 2||16,200||Carry to Camp 3 at 18000||16,200|
|11||Camp 2||16,200||Move to Camp 3||18,000|
|12||Camp 3||18,000||Carry to Camp 4||18,000|
|13||Camp 3||18,000||Move to Camp 4||19,900|
|14||Camp 4||19,900||Summit attempt to 22,385
Return to Camp 4
|15||Camp 4||19,900||Descend to Normal Route
Base Camp at 13,900
|16||Base Camp||13,900||Descend to Punta de Vacas
Hosteria at 8,300
|17||Punta de Vacas||8,300||Return to Mendoza||2,500|
Of the 6 clients on this expedition, one made it to the summit at 22,385 feet, one made it to within a few hundred feet of the summit, one made it to camp 4 at 20,000 feet, one made it to camp 3 at 18,000 feet, and 2, including myself, made it to camp 2 at 16,000 feet. I do not have any photographs from high on the mountain because I double exposed a roll of film.