Aconcagua Trip Report (#18941)

  • Signed By: Sven
  • Date submitted: February 14, 2006
  • Date(s) climbed: 01. Feb 2005 - 13. Feb 2005
  • Number of People Encountered:25-50 people
  • Recommend to a Friend: Highly

My friend Frank and I summited this challenging mountain on 11. February 2005 at 3:30pm! We managed to do this climb with as little money as possible. In Mendoza, we hired some equipment that we did not bring from Germany, took a local bus to Aconcagua and started the climb. Except for one mule that for 25 US$ each took some of our equipment from Confluencia (3300m) to Plaza de Mulas (4300m) and the park entrance fee of 200 US$ (reduced February fare), we did not pay any more money on the mountain and managed to get to the summit all by ourselves. The route was as follows: 1. Feb: Ascent from park entrance (2700m) with full weight (35kg each) to Confluencia (3300m). This was too much weight, we were deadly exhausted. 2. Feb: Rest day in Confluencia and a little hike to 3900m at the Horcones glacier. 3. Feb: Going up the long and tiring way with 15kg each to Plaza de Mulas (4300m). The rest is carried by a mule. We arrived tired, but in fairly good condition. 4. Feb: Rest day in Plaza de Mulas. 5. Feb: We go up to Camp Canada (5065m), deposit some stuff and return to Plaza de Mulas. 6. Feb: Rest day in Plaza de Mulas. 7. Feb: With the rest of our equipment, we climb up to Camp Canada and sleep there. It is rather windy up there and there is only liquid water for a short time in the late afternoon. 8. Feb: This day is used to bring some of our equipment to Nido de Condores (5550m), deposit it under heavy stones and return to Camp Canada. 9. Feb: Leaving Camp Canada, we arrive a few hours later with the rest of our equipment in Nido de Condores. Here, even daytemperatures hardly rise above 0°C. The summit can be seen from there and people start to think about their final push. However, it is here, where we also meet many people, who give up or have failed the summit ascent. 10. Feb: Frank and I leave some unnecessary items in Nido de Condores and take only around 15kg each of the most important things up to Camp Berlin (5950m). There are only few people in Camp Berlin, there is only rocks, ice and snow and the night is very cold. It is probably below -20°C outside. 11. Feb: We pack our summit backpacks before sunrise and leave for the summit in the dark morning hours. Shortly after sunrise we climb up a ridge with extremely strong and cold wind. We suffer from the cold and it is only our warm and good equipment that prevents frost-bite. However, we would not have made it much longer than 2 hours in this horrible wind, but fortunately the wind became less and the sun was high up in the blue sky giving us some warmth at noon time. In the Canaleta, a steep rocky slope, we face the last challenge. This is, where we saw people with severe high altitude sickness being forced to go back. One even had to be carried down. Others fight there way up and crawl to the top. We also use our last reserves and were even nearly hit by falling rocks. At 3:30pm, I climb the last rock and push my body onto the summit plateau... Half an hour we stay on South America's roof, where it was surprisingly warm (-5°C, little wind) and then start the long way down. After I arrived in Camp Berlin, I virtually fell into my sleeping bag and slept a refreshing 10 hours or so! I think that I had my best sleep during the whole tour on that night - in Camp Berlin! 12. Feb: We take all our stuff from Camp Berlin and from Nido de Condores and go down to Plaza de Mulas. After the rather foodless time at Camp Berlin (I just could not eat very much up there) I had a good meal again in Plaza de Mulas. 13. Feb: With a load of around 22kg each (we have less total weight now, because all the food is gone) we go all the very long way down from Plaza de Mulas to the town of Puente del Inca. A march of 40km (?). Well, we arrive in Puente del Inca exhausted of the long march and our feet are bloody and aching. The next bus brings us to Mendoza, where I take two showers and go to a all-you-can-eat steak house for a heavy dinner. That's my story. Good luck to all the climbers, who will face that mountain in the future!

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