A brief itinerary description:
Day 1 – Arrive Santiago, transfer to Mendoza, Argentina. Pick up climbing permit, transfer to Hotel (8,500 ft.) – hot showers and private bathroom. First views of Aconcagua if weather permits. Acclimatization hike in the afternoon.
Day 2 – Acclimatization hike in surrounding area. Overnight in hotel.
Day 3 – 1st approach day. Trek 4-5 hours with 15 lb packs, the rest is carried by mules. The trail follows the Vacas River. We will set camp at Pampa de Lenas at 9,000 ft.
Day 4 – 2nd approach day. Trek 6-7 hours. Continue to follow the Vacas River until we reach the junction of Relinchos Valley at our campsite at Casa de Piedra at 10,000’ ft.
Day 5 – 3rd approach day. We take a short day to hike the Relinchos Valley. This lower arm of the Relinchos is steeper. We arrive at camp at 12,500 ft.
Day 6 – Last approach day into Base Camp. This is also a shorter day, we arrive at base camp to allow time to set up, get drinking water and dine. Base camp is situated at 14,000 ft.
Day 7 – Light carry to Camp 1. (16,500 ft.) Carry gear to Camp 1. Cache food and gear at Base Camp.
Day 8 – Full carry to Camp 1. Prepare site for tomorrow’s move.
Day 9 – Carry and move to Camp 1. Allow time to set-up our new home at 16,000 ft.
Day 10 – Rest Day or Acclimatization Hike to Camp 2, or Armegino Col (17,500 ft.). Light carry and cache or optional rest day.
Day 11 – Light carry to Camp 2. (19,200 ft.) Carry and cache gear at Camp 2.
Day 12 – Full carry to Camp 2.
Day 13 – Carry and move to Camp 2. We move all the gear and food that is needed for our summit attempt.
Day 14 – Rest Day or Acclimatization Hike. Practice crampon work on Polish Glacier.
Day 15 – Summit attempt – 22,830 ft. This is a long day; we will leave camp between 3am and 5am and summit around 2pm. The route takes us from Camp to White Rocks to Independencia Hut (21,400 ft.). From there, traverse the West Face to the Canaletta. This leads to the Summit Ridge. It is here where you can see the wonderful views of the Argentine Plains, the Andes Mountain Range and the Pacific Ocean.
Day 16-18 – Alternate days for summit attempts, or extra days for bad weather.
Day 19 – Trek down to Base Camp and/or Casa de Piedra.
Day 20 – Trek to Penitentes. Celebration dinner – overnight in Hotel.
Day 21 – Return to Mendoza, flight back to North America.