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7 summits and other mountain stuff => Questions => Topic started by: Milan on Jan 11 2006, 18:30

Title: climbing Aconcagua
Post by: Milan on Jan 11 2006, 18:30

I'm planning to climb Aconcagua with my girlfriend and my best friend.
What will be the best period to climb it? I thought december but now I heard a lot of stories that it was to cold and to much snow last season.
Now  I think that the cold want be a problem if you have good clothes to wear, but to much snow I don't now.
My girlfriend never walked on crampons before so we try to avoid that (if it's possible)

Please tell me you're opinions and experiences.

Thnx and lot's of fun out there..... >:D
Title: Re: climbing Aconcagua
Post by: MoT on Jan 11 2006, 19:45
What sort of experience have you? (And your climbing partners)
Title: Re: climbing Aconcagua
Post by: Milan on Jan 12 2006, 17:46
We don't have much experience. From Everest and Annapurna basecamp trekkings / Kilimanjaro / and my best friend and me, we did some courses on ice and snow, so with crampons and axes. We also did the easiest 4000-er in the Alps (Breithorn) and the Monta Rosa Tour, a 10 day fully equiped trek. I'm trying to do some more ice and snow coming month but for my girlfriend, she will not be practicing with crampons or other stuff.

Title: Re: climbing Aconcagua
Post by: MoT on Jan 12 2006, 19:25
We went to Aconcagua last year - started our walk-in on January 1st.  Weather was variable but generally ok. We didn't have much in the way of snowfall until the day we left - I think it was unusually good though.  If you go via Plaza de Mulas chances are you probably won't need crampons/axes. On the Polish Glacier side there are snow/ice fields as you traverse on to the main route. Having said that you can traverse below these and join up at the site of many people's Camp III on the Polish side which is below independencia.

Having said all that, crampons would probably be useful to have as some people found the snoed/iced up parts of the canaleta a little easier than the dry parts. (Unfortunately I didn't reach the canaleta thanks to a wet/frozen foot so can't comment on this. Perhaps some other climbers would be able to answer this one. Certainly your girlfriend should bring crampons/axe etc but many people don't end up using them.
Title: Re: climbing Aconcagua
Post by: Milan on Jan 13 2006, 18:04
thnxs for the comment. I would love to do "the all side of the mountain". So you go up at the glacierside and coming down on the normal route. We try to avoid the christmas/new years period cause it will be crowdy. So it will be the last 2 weeks of november till half december or jan/feb. All other tips are welcome.

Title: Re: climbing Aconcagua
Post by: MikeW on Feb 2 2006, 21:12
Hi Milan!

I was there in the same time as MoT (he played a guitar concert in basecamp just before we went got higher on the mountain, pretty good musician ;D). It snowed for 2 days so the route higher up was covered by snow and we used crampons all day during our summit push. It was definitely easier with the crampons in the Canaleta because the rocks was frozen with the snow (no scree).

Just tell your girlfriend to practice with crampons, I saw quite a few people fell coming down in the Canaleta with crampons on because of the uneven surface of the rocks, ice and snow (and possibly because of the altitude and fatigue, it is over 6600m).

Title: Re: climbing Aconcagua
Post by: CharlieSz on Feb 6 2006, 03:56
Hey there-
we climbed Aconcagua in Jan 2005, up  on the guanacos route, down on the ruta normal.  We never used the crampons, the few patches of snow up before the summit was not too bad. The weather was reasonably good, though, except for some really cold stiff breeze at times.

I can highly recommend this combination of routes.  You get to see the normal experience for others, but only after making it up and having a beautiful side of the mountain almost all to yourselves.
Title: Re: climbing Aconcagua
Post by: Milan on Feb 7 2006, 19:21
Hi all,

Thnx for the replies. Teaching my girlfriend how to go on crampons, I live below sealevel. I think we have to practice somewere in the Alps someday or I'll take here to the indoor skihall here in Amsterdam  O0. @ CharlieSz, I'm very interested in that option of Guanacos route to see that beautifull side. What's the difference between the Guanacos and the Polish Traverse, and then both down on the Normal route?? How are the chances to acclimatise on the Guanacos route? @ MoT, it would be really nice if you could play some guitar then. It will be in the Argentina PLaza then and I'll invite you  for some wine  :lol).

Title: Re: climbing Aconcagua
Post by: CharlieSz on Feb 8 2006, 11:02
Hey Milan,

we have a pretty extensive write up on our trip website.  if you go to lonelyplanet and search in the personal trip websites for one with "michelle" in the title, we are the michelle and charlie (we are also on their "best" list).  There you'll have to look for the aconcagua climb entry.

Anyway, I thing Guanacos is a supremely good route to get acclimatized.  I think one of the crucial elements that many likes to forget is spending some time in the 3000-4000 m region.  You will get a lot of that, and then a pretty even elevation gain.

This is how the route goes:  you start out like going to Polish glacier and camp with people going that way for the first two nights.  Then they turn left where you first see the mountain, but you keep going further in tha same valley.  You take the next left with the river, base camp is a bit further up on the left (right bank of the river)  Some like to use camp 1 as a base camp for a rest day, though.  The reason is because this is still unter 4000 m, while camp 1 is about 4200.  From base you follow the path up on the left side of the mountain, get some enormously great views back for some time.  Once you passed through the long gravel field and where you cannot go straight anymore without crossing the river that's where camp 1 is.  From there you cross the river and turn left, cross some penitentes fields and up on a very unstable gravel field.  Camp 2 is on the flat once you got up on top of the wall.  Next you keep moving further up in that higher valley until you reach the edge where you turn left again and follow the path switchbacking up onto the ridge.  A bit furthet up on the ridge you'll find a flat area with sites for tents.  From here you follow the same ridge up to were this route links up with the normal route (you will see these days the false-polish traverse and their high camp) and your highest campsite is a bit higher than of the ruta normal (although some from that route will capm up with you there).

The path is pretty obvious as you walk on it, you are unlikely to get lost.  Perhaps only the day after leaving the polish glacier people and walking on the left of the river after turning West is the only time when walking on big rocks will not show every step of the way which way to go, but as long as you are walking up there, yo can't miss it.  That said, we met a guy who went up n ruta normal and under the influance of the O2 deprivation took a wrong turn up and ended up coming down on the guanacos route.  Lucky for him the few team on that side fed him and called in on satelite radio that he is not dead, only taking the long way home.

You will have water all the way to camp 3.  Watch out, base, camp 1 and 2 the water is super muddy in the afternoon, but nice and clean in the morning.  At camp 3 it s all going to be frozen in the morning, but start flowing slowly later the day.  4, snow melt.

That's probably a lot more than you asked for and a lot less than what you'd want to know to be sure.  If you have any other questions, email
Title: Re: climbing Aconcagua
Post by: Milan on Feb 9 2006, 22:58
thank's a lot CharlieSz for all the info, indeed way to much :lol). I'll tracked down the site you've mentioned and in the upcoming week i'm gonna read it. If I come up with some new questions I'll mail you.