*As a reminder, this itinerary may and will change from trip to trip. Climbing days and rest days are often dictated by weather and conditions. This day-to day plan is rough and should be used
for general reference only.
The Polish Glacier Traverse route, also known as the “Falso de los Polacos” route, crosses through the Vacas valley, ascends to the base of the Polish Glacier, then traverses across to the normal route for the final ascent to the summit. The third most popular route is by the Polish Glacier itself
Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Western and Southern Hemispheres at 6,960.8 meters (22,837 ft). It is located in the Andes mountain range, in the province of Mendoza, Argentina, and lies 112 kilometers (70 mi) northwest of its capital, the city of Mendoza. It is one of the Seven Summit.
In mountaineering terms, Aconcagua is technically an easy mountain if approached from the north, via the normal route. Aconcagua is arguably the highest non-technical mountain in the world, since the northern route does not absolutely require ropes, axes, and pins. Although the effects of altitude are severe (atmospheric pressure is 40% of sea-level at the summit), the use of supplemental oxygen is not required. Altitude sickness will affect most climbers to some extent, depending on the degree of acclimatization. Even if the normal climb is technically easy, multiple casualties occur every year on this mountain (in January 2009 alone five climbers died). This is due to the large numbers of climbers who make the attempt and because many climbers underestimate the objective risks of the elevation and of cold weather, which is the real challenge on this mountain. Given the weather conditions close to the summit, cold weather injuries are very common.
Arrive at Mendoza, Argentina and complete an equipment check. Change money for the remainder of the trip and pay for the climbing permits. After this business has been taken care of, the group will go out to dinner.
Pick up the climbing permits and then drive approximately 3 hours to the town of Penitentes, spend the night at hotel Ayelen
Organize gear in Penitentes and then trek to Papa de Lenas (9330 ft/2843 m). During the trekking portion of the trip, mules will carry the heaviest gear. We will carry light packs on the approach to the basecamp.
:Trek to Casa de Piedra (10,665 ft/3251 m). This 9-mile portion of the trek affords the first views of the mountain. From camp one can clearly see the Polish Glacier on the mountain.
Hike to basecamp at Plaza de Argentina (14,000 ft/4267 m). This portion of the trek will take us into the Relinchos Valley. This section requires two major river crossings. Occasionally we will arrange to have mules carry us over the river if it is too high to cross on foot.
Rest day. Organize food for the carry to Camp I. Great hiking and bouldering may be found a short walk from base camp.
Carry to Camp I (16,400 feet/5000 m). This carry will take approximately 4-6 hours.
Another rest day at basecamp to help acclimatize for the rest of the expedition.
Move to Camp I.
Carry to Camp II (18,000 ft/5486 m). Camp II is known as both Chopper Camp as well as Guanacos III camp. It is here that we connect with the Upper Guanacos route by crossing Ameghino Pass on a gentle traverse.
Rest day or move to Camp II.
If at Camp 2, carry to Camp III (19,600 ft/5970 m), also known as the White Rocks Camp. If we take a rest day on Day 11, move to Camp 2.
Rest day or carry to Camp III.
Move to Camp III.
These days are either for summit day or for the move to White Rocks Camp. Summit day begins around 5:00am. It takes about 7-10 hours to get to the top and then another 3-4 to descend down to camp. For the False Polish, we climb north to the Independencia Hut at approximately 21,400 feet, meeting up with the Ruta Normal. Then we traverse the West Face and climb up into the Canaleta (a couloir) that leads to the summit ridge.
Hike to Plaza de Mulas
(14,400 ft/4300 m), the basecamp for the Ruta Normal.
Hike to Penitentes and spend the night.
Return to Mendoza.