As the days grow shorter in the northern hemisphere, why not chase the sun and head south?!? Mountain Trip guide Fermin Avila and Nigel & Rene Cleaver are headed to the western edge of Argentina to attempt to climb the highest peak in all of the Americas, Cerro Aconcagua. Rising to almost 7000 meters, this peak is known as the Stone Sentinel and the moniker makes sense to this climber, as you can gaze all the way to the Pacific Ocean from the top of the mountain. The team will climb a variation of the classic route known as the Polish Traverse, which approaches the peak from the southeast, ascends the east side and drops down the the west after summit day. The climbing is not technical, but the high altitude and the notoriously windy weather make the route very challenging.
Nigel and Rene met Fermin in Mendoza, Argentina on December 16th for Mountain Trip’s first Aconcagua expedition of the season. The team members ran through the final gear check, then went out to dinner to enjoy the steak and wine that Mendoza is famous for. Yesterday morning they headed down to the Aconcagua Provincial Park offices to pick up their permits, then they departed for the mountains. Last night the team stayed the night in Penitentes, a small resort area located at 9,000 feet, and this morning they began the journey up the Vacas Valley.
We will endeavor to post daily updates while the team is on the mountain, but please understand that, due to the complexities of communicating from such rugged terrain, this is not always possible. Feel free to contact our office for the latest news, but if a day or so passes without an update, hold onto the age-old axiom of, “No News is Good News,” because less than good news always finds a way to get communicated.
Please post comments to support your friends and family members. We cannot always convey those comments to climbers on the mountain, but they will really enjoy reading them once they are back down in “civilization.”