Final Aconcagua Team Takes Off!
Cerro Aconcagua, the highest summit of South America standing on Argentina’s border at 22,841 feet / 6962 meters, is notorious for high winds, cold temperatures and generally trecherous conditions. Last season was arguably one of the most difficult season in the history of the mountain for those trecherous conditions, causing many groups to turn around without having reached the summit. This season, our teams took to the mountain with high hopes of greater success. Our January Normal Route team unfortunately encountered some of those high winds, but congratulations are in order to the team for pushing as far as only a couple hundred meters short of the summit before turning around. Our final team of the season has begun their expedition, and MM Guide Gaspar Navarrete checked in:
Final day on the approach to base camp. MM Collection
We started off the expedition in Penitentes, where we made final preparations for the climb. This trip, Mountain Madness is going to climb by the Polish Traverse route. The members of the team are: Atul and Derrick from the US, Daniel from Canada and myself, from Ecuador, as the lead guide.
The team hanging out in the mess tent. Gaspar Navarrete photo
We just finished the long day of preparations after getting permits at the park office back in Mendoza, finished packing in the city, and after that, the three and a half drive to Penitentes, but not before stopping at Uspallata for a great Argentinian lunch. Once we arrived, we started reorganizing all our climbing gear for the mules to carry it the next morning and for the next three days until we arrive at Base Camp.
Plaza Argentina / Base Camp. MM Collection
It will be three days of hiking with new experiences, beautiful landscapes, and preparing mentally. All our expectations will probably be a bit different from what we are about to experience, but we are living our dream and will have to accept it as it comes. Hopefully, if weather and conditions permit, we will complete this climbing experience all together on the summit of Aconcagua with a big smile on our faces. If a summit is not possible, we will still have that satisfied feeling of having tried to reach a goal. But now we just want to think what is coming ahead and we all do not try to worry much about the rest.
~ MM Guide Gaspar Navarrete
Penitentes above base camp. MM Collection