Day 1: Overnight flight to Santiago. Day 2: Fly from Santiago to Mendoza (2,428'). A Mountain Madness guide will meet you at the airport and escort you to the hotel. Exploring the charming city of Mendoza is always a highlight of this trip. Here, we take a day and evening to enjoy the many parks, sidewalk cafes, red wine and the delicious steaks. We will meet at the hotel in the evening for a group dinner and orientation. Day 3: We leave Mendoza early and arrive at Puente del Inca (8,900 feet) in the mid afternoon after about a four hour drive. We spend the night in dormitory style rooms near Puente del Inca. The name Puente del Inca comes from the impressive natural bridge which crosses the Rio de las Cuevas. Day 4: After a short drive we reach Puenta de Vacas (7,628') where we begin our approach to the mountain. We hike 5 miles up the west side of the Rio de las Vacas to the Las Lenas shelter (4 hours). We set up our camp at about 8,900'. Day 5: We continue hiking up the Rio de Las Vacas, 11 miles to the Casa de Piedra shelter at 10,500'. Here, you may receive your first view of Aconcagua perched at the head of the Relinchos Valley. We make our camp here at Casa de Piedra. (5 to 6 hours) Day 6: After crossing the Rio de Las Vacas, we hike 9 miles up the steep, narrow Relinchos Valley to the moraine that marks the Plaza Argentina, our base camp at 13,780'. This camp is located on the stable rock-covered glacier and has well protected campsites. (6-8 hours) Day 7: Today is a day for resting, continuing the acclimatization process, and taking in the sights of the Andes! Day 8: Throughout the ascent we will adhere to the philosophy of climb high and sleep low in order to properly acclimatize. We leave basecamp and head northwest over the moraine of the Relinchos Glacier. After negotiating a traverse through a field of penitentes (ice and snow daggers formed by the sun), we cross a small stream and arrive at the site of Camp I (16,000') beneath some large rocks. (4-6 hours) We cache food and gear, enjoy a leisurely lunch and begin the descent back to base camp. Day 9: Rest day in base camp. Day 10: We move up to the Camp I and spend the night. Day 11: Rest day at Camp I. Day 12: From Camp I, we climb past the Ameghino Col (17,650 ft.) to Camp II at the base of the Polish Glacier at 19,350 ft., approximately 6 hours from Camp I. Here we cache gear and return back down to Camp I. Day 13 :We climb to Camp II and spend the night. Day 14: Rest day in Camp II. Day 15: Today we move completely to Camp III. The Polish Traverse crosses north and west on slopes up to 35 degrees and joins the Normal Route at Camp Independecia (20,300'). Rest and get ready for summit attempt! Various locations can be used for Camp III and will be determined by your trip leader. Days 16-17: There are 3 days scheduled into the itinerary to account for bad weather at any point along our climb. An additional day (four days total) can be used if the group descends to Punta del Inca and returns directly to Mendoza on day 21. SUMMIT DAY: From our high camp the Traverse route joins the Northwest ridge just below the highest refuge in the world, 21,476 foot Refugia Independencia. From these ruins we continue climbing to the Cresta del Viento (Windy Crest). Once here we join the upper part of the Gran Acarreo and traverse to the Canaleta, the most famous and challenging part of the Normal Route. The Canaleta is a 30-degree scree gully that rises 1,300 feet and requires great patience and stamina. After topping out of the Canaleta, you will find yourself atop the Cresta del Guanaco, the ridge that joins the lower South Summit to the higher North Summit. We follow the ridge crest to the 22,841-foot true summit, where aluminum cross marks the highest point in the Western Hemisphere! The 360-degree view from the summit is awe-inspiring as you gaze out towards the numerous 20,000-foot peaks of the Andes. Summitting and returning back down to our high camp usually takes between 9-12 hours. Day 18: We begin the descent back down to the land of oxygen rich air! We now descend to our new basecamp at the Plaza de Mulas (13,780 feet) to relax. Day 19: Hike down the Horcones valley to Puente del Inca. Overnight in hotel. D Day 20-21: Afternoon of day 20 we travel to Mendoza for the night flight home.
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
Price from USD $4,675 per person.
This trip can run as a group trip, with prices starting from $0 per person for a complete group. If you are looking to join a group or you are a solo traveller we will help to form likeminded groups of travellers. Please let us know your travel plans.
The trip can also run on a private basis to fit around your plans. Departures may be tailored and can be set up on a date of your choice. Please note that there is a higher price for smaller groups. Please enquire for further details.
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