Our Aconcagua team is assembled in Mendoza, Argentina, and poised to head up the trail tomorrow morning. Two climbers will be accompanied by our longtime Aconcagua guide, Fermin Avilà. Fermin has summited Aconcagua more than 30 times, and has been leading trips for Mountain Trip for the last decade.
Aconcagua is the tallest peak in South America and also holds the distinction of being the tallest peak outside the Himalaya. At 22,841 feet, it’s only a few meters shy of being a 7,000 meter peak. Located just east of the border between Chile and Argentina, the glaciated mountain rises above a very arid environment. Approaching the mountain feels very similar to hiking in the Grand Canyon, replete with whiptail lizards and Chuckwallas.
The climbers met in the small city of Mendoza, the center of Argentina’s world-renown wine country. The team assembled today, Fermin will be looking over everyone’s climbing gear this evening, and then they’ll head out for a welcome dinner to enjoy some of Mendoza’s famous steaks.
The team includes:
- Josie Tuthill, Colorado
- Chris Burt, United Kingdom
- Fermin Avilà (guide), El Bolsón, Argentina
Tomorrow they’ll finalize the process to obtain climbing permits from the Provincial Park Office in Mendoza, before loading into a private van for the two-plus hour drive into the mountains. We’re climbing the “Normal Route” on Aconcagua this year due to some Covid related restrictions from Aconcagua Provincial Park. We’re excited to be able to run a trip this season in spite of the limitations. They’ll start hiking up to the first camp, “Confluencia,” at the confluence of the Horcones Valley and the Valle Francia, looking up toward the South Face of Aconcagua.
The first several days of the climb are the approach up the arid Horcones Valley. The approach is a good warm up for climbers, with none of the days being too tough, but a good opportunity to stretch their legs and build some acclimatization to the thinner air of the higher elevations.
As the team progresses, we have invited the climbers to call in dispatches from the field, so they can share their experience in their own words. These dispatches will initially post as “New Audio File,” until our team in Colorado can edit the post and append it to the team’s dispatch feed. We encourage friends and family to subscribe to the team’s dispatches using the drop down tool to the right of this page.
On occasion, the team will be too busy, or the weather could conspire to prevent a dispatch from being called in via satellite phone. In such circumstances, we urge you to hold onto the old adage: “no news is good news!” However, if you should have any questions about how they are doing, please don’t hesitate to call the Mountain Trip office or drop us an email.
The Mountain Trip Team