Leaving Civilization for Aconcagua

We received our Aconcagua permits this morning and took the four hour mini bus ride from Mendoza to Penitentes. It is now about 7:00 PM still a bit early for dinner. We spent the late afternoon weighing and tagging our bags. We have paired up and share one duffel for the trek to base camp and another for base camp and above.

But the key is they have to weigh less than 30kg or 66lbs per duffel. You see the mules are cranky if they weigh more! Well, store no problem, I am sharing with Dave and we came in at 23kg and 27kg respectively.

I am often asked if I climb with the same people on all my expeditions. The short answer is no but I do tend to see many of the same guides or climbers around the world. So the usual routine is similar to the opening episode of a miniseries where you get to meet all the characters. Usually for us that happens over dinner and as we travel or trek to the trailheads. You ask and get asked the same questions about where you live, what you do, your family and then on to what have you climbed, who with, did you summit? Over time the conversation moves on and great friendships are often the result.

We have 8 climbers, 2 IMG guides and a local guide. This may seem like a lot but it designed for safety and success. It is an international team with people from the UK, Ireland, Argentina, Canada and the US states of California, Colorado and Montana. We have an airline pilot, two firefighters from a Hot Shot unit (means strong guys!), a lawyer, a small business owner and two retired guys. So far the conversation has been quick and engaging.

This is the last dispatch not using the sat phone so expect the future ones to a bit shorter. Tomorrow morning we leave the trailhead for the 10 mile trek to the first camp. It will take about 4 to 5 hours following the Vacus River (Rio Vacus) to the Pampa laina camp (8,200 ft). On Thursday, we continue another 4 to 5 hours to Casa Piedra at 9,200 ft. Then on Friday, we cross several streams and climb the Relinchos Valley to reach our base camp Plaza Argentina (13,200 ft) in 5-7 hours.

I have turned the SPOT tracker on and you can see the marker for my position at Penitentes. I will have it on for the trek over  the next few days as well as when we are moving on the climb. Also I will do a check in at each camp. Thus far the temps are quite mild – a huge change for earlier reports.

Thanks for following along. I am hoping my good luck on Aconcagua to continue with my 3rd summit on 3 tries. If you are pledging a penny for every foot I climb, this will be $144 for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. Thank you, thank you.

Regular readers know this is not about climbing but I hope you will be as motivated by my climb as I am by your support.

Climb On!


Memories are Everything

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20 thoughts on “Leaving Civilization for Aconcagua

  1. All the best on the your 2nd “7 Summits” climb! Looking forward to witty dialog, amazing pictures and video! Climb On!

  2. Just remember,familiarity breeds confidence.Overconfidence is dangerous.Safety first and THEN climb on.
    I will be reading and pulling for you every step.Not just for a summit but a fine cause too.

  3. So cool to be tracking your progress. I wonder how you feel-do you still feel the benefits of the Vinson climb in terms of physiology. I just wonder how doing a 7 summits campaign in a year builds, or are you peaks and troughs in fitness.

    So cool to be cheering you on from foggy Connecticut!

  4. Thanks again everyone. Kind of excited to hit the trail in a few minutes. Interesting to stay motivated about the same climb, but this time is different. Thanks for all your kind words !!

  5. Yeah. Keep going Alan. So inspiring! Wish I were climbing every step with you! Climb strong.

  6. I am so inspired by all you have done up to this point. Each step brings you closer to your goal. You are to be emulated, Alan. Stay safe and enjoy!!!

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