WELL, THIS IS SLOWER THAN IT SOUNDS, BUT OUR TEAM OF KIKE, KLAUS AND PETER HAVE STARTED MOVING UP THE VAST MOUNTAIN, AND SHOULDN’T BE BACK IN BASE CAMP UNTIL THEI’VE SET FOOT ON ACONCAGUA’S SUMMIT! WHAT’S ON STORE?
Today the crew return to Plaza Don Fernando (Camp I) were they did a huge cache yesterday, but today to sleep. This time they must each carry all our personal equipment and will not return to Base Camp until after our summit push, unless forced to by bad weather. Local guides who serve as seasonal porters help by carrying tents, stoves, cooking equipment and fuel.
Tomorrow is their next move, up to Camp II (Plaza Don Benegas), and on arrival they will be resting for the day as well as a rest day there the next day. Getting used to a new height of 5,600m takes patience. A full rest day there provides them with more invaluable time to acclimatize. They will focus on sleep, hydration, and eating well. On a clear day, the views from Plaza Don Benegas are truly unforgettable.
Monday is the last move to get in position for the real summit push, or summit day. They will move on up for approximately 3 – 5 hours to reach our next and final Camp Plaza Caluba at 19,600′ / 5,974m. This may be an altitude record for some, and they are now less than 1000m below the summit!
The Aconcagua summit day is very long yet satisfying. We normally begin with a wake up call at first light, and depart between 6 and 8am depending on the wind. We will be ending in the late afternoon. The summit day involves nothing more than mountain walking, albeit at high altitude. In good conditions the base of the Central Canaleta to the summit is reached in just 4 to 5 hours. The Central Canaleta then involves about 300 meters in vertical elevation gain. At this point, due to the gradient and altitude we calculate approximately one hour per 100 meters of elevation gain. The Canaleta sometimes requires a little scrambling to the final summit ridge, which provides outstanding views down the South Face. Finally, a metal cross adorns the true summit and is accompanied by a summit register. The views from the summit on a clear day are superb, and can stretch as far as the Pacific Ocean. From the summit we return the same way to Camp Plaza Caluba, and next day to Base Camp.
Good luck team!