Aconcagua Itinerary – January 2014


On the 5th January we will be flying out of Johannesburg and heading to Argentina to face the beautiful, rough, unpredictable Aconcagua!

On Aconcagua (6962m) the altitude and the potentially extreme weather challenge every climber of all levels and skills so a good physical shape, a proper acclimatization, a good logistical service and the reliability of experienced guides will help increase the chances of success in our expedition.

Now, with our flights booked and the itinerary of the route we are going to do available, it all starts to bring our trip to life. If you are keen to see what lies ahead of us and track us while we are away, keep reading…!

Flight Itinerary

If you would like to see us off at the airport in Cape Town or Johannesburg here are our flight details:

Saturday, 4th January 2014 – Departing Cape Town at 19h50 and landing in Johannesburg at 21h50.

Sunday, 5th January 2014 – Departing Johannesburg at 10h25 and landing in Buenos Aires Argentina at 16h25.

Monday, 6th January 2014 – Departing Buenos Aires Argentina at 07:20 and landing in Mendoza Argentina at 09h10.

Or if you would like to come and have coffee with us upon our return at Johannesburg airport or if you would like to be part of our welcome home entourage at Cape Town airport here are those details:

Friday, 31st January 2014 – Departing Buenos Aires, Argentina at 17h55 and landing in Johannesburg on Saturday morning, 4th January 2014 at 08h15.

Saturday, 1st February 2013 – Departing Johannesburg at 11h00 heading homeward bound to the beautiful Mother City, Cape Town, landing at 13h10.

Aconcagua 360˚ Traverse Route Itinerary

Our ascent will be via the beautiful and scenic Vacas Valley and our descent will be via Plaza de Mulas and the Horcones Valley.  This expedition will offer us a complete 360˚ view of the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas, allowing us to enjoy the magnitude and splendour of the mountain in its entirety.

We will be departing from South Africa on Sunday, 5th January 2014. Pretty cool way to start the new year I would say!

Day 1: Mendoza (760 metres) – Monday, 6 January 2014

We arrive in Mendoza and after settling in at our hotel, we will meet our guides, check gear and do last-minute shopping.  We will enjoy a welcome dinner that will kick-start our expedition.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 2:  Penitentes (2700 metres) – Wednesday, 8 January 2014 (Originally due to start on Tuesday, 7th Jan but delayed by a day)

Before driving to Penitentes, we will obtain our climbing permits and park fees.  We will then travel to Penitentes by van, stopping for lunch at Uspallata.  The afternoon will be spent organising the loads for the follow day.

Drive time:  4 to 5 hours

Overnight: Hotel

Day 3:  Pampa de Lenas (2950 metres) – Thursday, 9 January 2014

We drive to Punta de Vacas, check in at the Aconcagua Park entrance and then trek to Pampa de Lenas and set up camp.

Trekking time: 4 to 5 hours

Overnight: Tents

Day 4:  Casa de Piedra (3240 metres) – Friday, 10 January 2014

Today we trek to an intermediate camp via Quebrada de Vacas.  We will see the impressive West Face of Aconcagua for the first time. (Yes everyone, the stuff goosebumps are made of)

Trekking time: 6 to 7 hours

Overnight: Tents

Day 5: Plaza Argentina (4200 metres) – Saturday, 11 January 2014

Today we will trek into Base Camp via the steep Relicho slope and the Inferior Plaza Argentina. (And this is one of the reasons why our training hikes are going to up some serious notches once my exams are over at the end of the October)

Trekking time: 5 to 6 hours

Overnight: Tents

Day 6: Plaza Argentina (4200 metres) – Sunday, 12 January 2014

Today is a well-deserved rest and acclimatisation day.  We will familiarise ourselves with Base Camp and have an opportunity to have a shower (yes, how wonderful we can shower at Base Camp and this means there will be no wet-wipe washing on this day. A truly fabulous thought!)  We will reorganise our equipment and prepare loads for a carry the next day.

Trekking time:  None ~ It’s mostly feet up day!

Overnight: Tents

Day 7:  Carry to Camp 1 (5000 metres) – Monday, 13 January 2014

We do a load carry to Camp 1 (the reason why we are training with heavy backpacks) and we will return to Base Camp the same day.

Trekking time: 7 to 8 hours round trip

Overnight: Tents

Day 8: (5000 metres) – Tuesday, 14 January 2014

On day 8 we will move up to Camp 1, pick up the loads we dropped there the day before and set up camp.  After some rest and refreshment, we will organise loads for a carry the next day.

Trekking time:  5 to 6 hours

Overnight: Tents

Day 9: Carry to Camp 2 (5500 metres) – Wednesday, 15 January 2014

We continue to acclimatize today by carrying a load to Camp 2, returning again to Camp 1 where we will once again spend the night.

Trekking Time:  6 hours round trip

Overnight: Tents

Day 10: Camp 1 (5500 metres) – Thursday, 16 January 2014

This is another well-deserved rest day.  It will be important to hydrate well, eat as much as possible and to focus on what lies ahead.

Trekking time:  Feet up and I’m thinking plenty of that addictive Monopoly card game my team-mate is bringing along!

Overnight: Tents

Day 11:  Camp 2 (5500 metres) – Friday, 17 January 2014

Today we will climb to Camp 2 via the Ameghino Traverse.  We will pick up the loads we dropped two days ago and set up camp.  After some food and rest, we will begin to prepare our loads for a carry to Camp 3.

Trekking time:  5 hours

Overnight: Tents

Day 12:  Carry to Colera/Camp 3 (6000 metres) – Saturday, 18 January 2014

Today we will do a carry to Camp Colera, which is also our 3rd and final camp before our summit attempt. This will be a hard day where it becomes very important for our team to be monitored as to how we are feeling from an acclimatisation and psychological perspective.  We will return to Camp 2 and rest.  This camp will also take us to the highest point we have climbed to yet. Kilimanjaro was 5895m.

Trekking time:  4 hours

Overnight: Tents

Day 13:  Camp Colera/Camp 3 (6000 metres) – Sunday, 19 January 2014

We pack up camp and move up to Camp Colera via the last part of the Upper Guanacos Valley Route.  We will position ourselves fairly close to Camp Berlin on the Normal Route and we will begin to prepare for our summit push. (This is body shaking with excitement stuff now!!)

Trekking time:  4 hours

Overnight: Tents

Day 14: Summit Day (6962 metres) – Monday, 20 January 2014

This is the most challenging and demanding day of the entire expedition (Yes, I’ve heard those words before and they certainly aren’t lying when they say that!) We will climb up to Independencia (6500m) via the Normal Route and then follow the traverse to the base of La Caneleta.  We will climb to the right of Caneleta.  Just before the summit we will look down onto the dramatic South-West Face of Aconcagua.  They tell us that there is nothing more rewarding than standing on the summit of the tallest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere. I know what they say is true and can’t wait to experience it for myself. Do you realise too, that as it won’t be climbing season in the Himalayas yet, when we reach the summit of Aconcagua we will be the highest people on earth! How freaking cool will be that?!! After soaking up the incredible views from the summit we will descend back to Camp 3 where we will spend the night.

Trekking time: 12 to 14 hours

Overnight: Tents

Day 15 and 16:  Spare Days

They have built-in extra days into our itinerary for our summit attempt.  These spare days are in case of extreme weather and other logistical challenges.

Day 17: Plaza de Mulas (4250 metres) – Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Today we descend from Camp 3 to Plaza de Mulas where we will enjoy a delicious dinner to celebrate our incredible experience.

Trekking time:  5 hours

Overnight: Tents

Day 18:  Penitentes – Wednesday, 22 January 2014

After an early breakfast we descend to Penitentes via the Horcones Valley and Confluencia (3500 metres)

Trekking time: 9 to 10 hours

Overnight: Hotel

Day 19:  Mendoza – Thursday, 23 January 2014

After breakfast we will drive to Mendoza and check into our hotel where we will enjoy a celebratory dinner later that night.

Day 20: The real holiday begins! – Friday, 24 January 2014

Sadly,  we will say goodbye to some of our team members who will be flying back to their respective homes while us four South African’s will be extending our stay and enjoying the warmth and hospitality of the Argentinean people for a little bit longer.

~ I will only be able to get internet access at Base Camp and again once I am off the mountain so if I can I will post a quick update to let everyone know how life on the mountain slopes is going.  To get more up to date updates on how the team is doing on the mountain you can follow our progress as we climb higher by liking Adventures Global Facebook Page as they will be relaying info daily via Satellite phone.  Here’s hoping you enjoy the journey along with myself and the team as we climb to the summit of Aconcagua! ~

~ If you would like to make a donation to support those living with Cystic Fibrosis and to help us find a cure for this incurable life threatening illness, please click here.

For my best friend, Emma Walker!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Logistical Delays and A Slight Change of Plans | Walking4Air
  2. Rodger Williams
    Jan 08, 2014 @ 07:33:57

    Carrying goods and sleeping above Kili’s altitude takes serious guts! You are a true hero!


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