Our second Aconcagua team of the climbing season has started to arrive in Mendoza, Argentina. We have had some flight cancellations and delays, but it looks like everyone will arrive by tomorrow evening, and we can launch the trip as scheduled. Thankfully, our climbers all decided to arrive a day or two early, and those decisions are proving to have been really good ideas!
Mendoza is a very nice city with numerous plazas and parks. It is, as they say in Spanish, “muy tranquilo,” or very tranquil and relaxed, making it an ideal setting for both beginning and ending expeditions to big, cold mountains. The big, cold mountain that is the focus of our team is the highest in South America and the highest peak outside of Asia, named by the pre-Colombians as Aconcagua, “the Stone Sentinel.” rising to a height of 22,841 feet (6962m), it dominates the Andes and is known for creating its own weather as it causes storms to build up from the nearby Pacific ocean.
Our team has come from across the globe to join us on this expedition. Jacob Schmitz will lead the team for his second trip on the mountain this season, and his 30-something trip up the peak. Jacob is a senior guide at Mountain Trip and has led teams up all of the Seven Summits.
Kaz Miyatsu has flown from Japan to join our team.
Matthew Metcalfe has journeyed from Australia.
Ed Chu has arrived overland from Chile, after flying from Hong Kong.
Kaz at our pre-climb equipment check in Mendoza.
Before heading up to the mountain, we conduct a detailed equipment check, and hold a team meeting in which Jacob will go over the plan for the coming days, discuss safety considerations and answer any questions the climbers might have. Communication is crucial on expeditions and we try to establish clear lines of dialogue well before everyone arrives in Mendoza, but the team meeting is another step in the development of good communication and rapport.
After the team meeting, everyone will head over to the local Park Service office to secure their climbing permits, before we load up in a private van to make the 2-hour drive up to a small ski resort called Penitentes. The team will spend a night at Penitentes before they begin their three-day trek into Base Camp.
Stay tuned for more updates from the team!