December 19, 2008
Welcome to our 2008/2009 Aconcagua Expedition Page!
The trip is underway! Below is a day by day update of the status of our climbers as they head up Aconcagua, at 22,841 ft - it is the highest mountain in South America and the highest mountain outside the Himalayas. Aconcagua is the second mountain in our quest to climb the Seven Summits. The climbers and guide are on their way into Mendoza, Argentina.
Day 1, December 20
Today the group is staying at the 5 star Hyatt in Mendoza. They will have a pre-climb orentation and enjoy some Argentinean hospitality.
Day 2, December 21
After breakfast, the group transferd to the Aconcagua Provincial Park permit office to obtain their climbing permits. Then headed west to the village of Penitentes, situated at the foot of the valleys that access the mountain. The climbers stayed overnight at the Hotel Penitentes.
Day 3, December 22
Today the group drove to Punta de Vacas where they began the first day’s trek towards the foot of Aconcagua through Vacas valley. The day was gorgeous and HOT. Everyone was doing well and they saw a big bird! After about 5 hours of hiking they reached the first camp called Pampa de Leña situated at an elevation of 9,330ft.
Day 4, December 23
Today the climbers hiked along the Vacas valley for 6 hours, and safely reach Casa de Piedra camp situated at an elevation of 10,665ft. From camp up through the Relinchos pass they can clearly see the Polacos glacier on Aconcagua. The day was beautiful and very, very hot. Everyone is doing well and in high spirits. They also got the first view of Aconcagua and said "it looks BIG"..! Tomorrow the climbers start the hike to Base camp "Plaza Argentina" at about 14,000ft. where they will spend a few days adjusting to the altitude.
Day 5, December 24
Today the group climbed up the steep and marvelous Relinchos valley to the base camp called Plaza Argentina situated at 14,000ft. This is a 7 hour day with an elevation gain of 3,300 ft. Everyone is doing great and the weather was wonderful. The still are in awe of the mountain saying its "huge"! While on the hike into base camp they saw wild Lamas. The group is getting ready to have Christmas Dinner with everyone at base camp and everyone is in wonderful spirits. The group will rest here a bit and after getting their climbing gear organized, will start to lay assault on the mountain.
Day 6, December 25
Today the climbers are resting in Base Camp and sorting through their gear brought up the valley by mules. Everyone is doing well and in good spirits. The views are stunning and weather is great.
Days 7-8, December 26-27
Our climbers spent the 26th packing gear their first round of gear to the high Camp I at 16,000'. After their trek to the high camp, they returned to base came to spend the night. This up and down climbing process helps our climbers adjust to the altitude in a safe and slow way. Saturday is a rest day in base camp. We expect to hear from our group again on Sunday after they successfully reach Camp I for the second time, this time to spend the night.
Day 9, December 28
Our climbers made their way to Camp I again where they will spend the night. Everyone is still feeling great and in good spirits. The weather was beautiful and now that they are safely in camp, it's a bit on the chilly side, about 25 degrees F. Tomorrow our group will do their first carry to Camp II and return to Camp I to sleep. We expect to hear from our climbers again tomorrow afternoon.
Day 10, December 29
Today they made the first carry to Camp II successfully. At just under 18000 ft, our climbers are starting to feel the altitude, but are all still in good spirits and doing great. They all continue to drink lots of water to help with the effects of the altitude. During their hike today they traveled through a storm on the way up and down and traversed a saddle that gave them a wonderful view of the amazing mountains surrounding them. Back in Camp I this evening it is clear and beautiful. We expect to hear from them next after reaching Camp II again tomorrow evening.
Days 11-12, December 30 - 31
Our group is resting at Camp II tonight, just under 18000' and the temps outside are cold! In the sun is lovely, but once that sun goes down it's down right cold outside. Tomorrow will be a rest day at Camp II with their first carry to Camp III planned for the 1st. Our next expected update will be the afternoon of the 1st after they return to Camp II.
Day 13, January 1, 2009
Happy New Year! Our climbers are back at Camp II for the evening. They had a successful carry to Camp III today and were back in Camp II early. As usual, they enjoyed an afternoon storm and it was a bit on the windy and cold side today. Our group will return to Camp III tomorrow, a short day, which will give them a lot of rest at Camp III tomorrow afternoon and evening. Given current mountain conditions, they are hoping to summit the next day on the 3rd. Our next update from the group is expected tomorrow evening, after 5pm MT.
Day 14, January 2, 2009
Our climbers made it to Camp III early and had the day to rest. The weather is still looking good, our climbers are doing great and they are ready to attempt the summit dark and early tomorrow morning. They will start their ascent tomorrow morning at 4am their time. We expect it to take about 8 hours to reach the summit. If it is possible, they will call once they reach the summit and again from Camp III. Be sending your positive thoughts and energy their way tonight!
Summit Day! January 3, 2009
Congratulations - they are on the top of Aconcagua! After a long day, we are very proud to say that our climbers made it to the top! The conditions are good, snowy and COLD and they are on their way down. "It's amazing and incredible! Hardest thing I've ever done!"
Everyone made it back to Camp III safe and sound and utterly exhausted. Tomorrow they will head down to base camp for the night and the next day they will walk off the mountain. We will continue the updates until they are all off the mountain. Congrats again - we are all so proud of you guys!
Day 16, January 4, 2009
Our troop made their way back to base camp today. After another good night's rest, tomorrow they will trek out 19 miles, all the way off the mountain.