On the mountain – Climbing Aconcagua

  • WEATHER
  • DAILY SCHEDULE
  • FOOD & WATER
  • DAY PACK

WEATHER IN THE MOUNTAIN

 

The weather in Aconcagua is extremely variable, shifting from sunny mornings with mild winds to strong blizzards. The reason behind this, is that the humid air stream coming from the Pacific Ocean -located to the east of Argentina, in Chile- moves towards the mountain until colliding with the Andean Mountain range. This produces a rapid descent of the temperature, followed by the unloading of all the humidity in the shape of snow in the upper side of the mountain.

 

In general, when the weather is good, daytime temperature in both Plaza de Mulas and Plaza Argentina base camps ranges between 14°C to 18°C -maybe a little more on hot days-  to slowly decrease below zero as the sun sets.

 

In the middle of summer on the Southern Hemisphere, night temperatures can drop to 20°C below zero in the highest parts of the mountain. They can reach minus 30°C or less in altitudes over 6,500m.

 

Most base camps are equipped with Internet service, which is often used by climbers to stay informed on how the weather will be during the following days. Our guides keep the forecast information up to date all the time, even when they are in the high camps.

DAILY SCHEDULE

 

A normal day depends on what part of the scheduled program you are in. For example, the first days on the approaching and the acclimatization in the base camp are very comfortable, with many available services. This changes as soon as you get to the high camps.

 

In your first night in the mountain, our guides will assign a sleeping tent every two passengers. If you come alone, you will have the possibility to choose a partner at that moment. The guides will show you how to set it up and help you during the process. From that day on, you and your partner will be responsible for the setting up and disassembling of that tent.

 

DURING THE APROACH TREK AND IN THE BASE CAMPS

 

Breakfast is served from 7.00am to 9.00am depending on the scheduled activities for that day. These activities vary, from having an approaching trekking, or resting in the base camp, to carrying equipment to the first high camp. The main guide is in charge of determining the time of the waking up and the communication with the kitchen staff, so that when the group arrives to the dining tent a succulent breakfast is waiting for them.

 

Every day treks times can range from four to eight hours, depending on the activity programmed for that day. During the trekking our guide determines the walking pace and the best moments to take a break according to his judgment on the group’s performance.

 

When returning from the activities, a reception is waiting in the base camp. At night, dinner is served early –around 7.00pm– in order to rest well. After dinner, the guide shares with the group the plans for the next day.

 

Our guides will be monitoring your constant hydration all the time, since this is the key to a proper acclimatization. To help you with that purpose, you will always find different types of infusions to hydrate in the dining tent assigned to your group in the base camp. Our kitchen staff will also give you -alongside a great smile- hot water as many times as you request.

 

In every base camp, the entire group is escorted by the guides for a check-up in the Aconcagua Park’s Medical Service. The doctors determine following visits if necessary, to make sure that the acclimatization is going alright and there are no symptoms to worry.

 

On your free time in Plaza de Mulas or Plaza Argentina you can use our Internet or phone service to call your family. The connection is made through a computer in the base camp, so it is not necessary to bring yours.

DURING THE DAYS IN THE HIGH CAMPS

 

As soon as the group starts moving towards the high camps, comfort decreases.

The setting-up of tents in the height often gets difficult due to the extreme cold and wind. You can assemble yours with your partner or you can hire one of our porters to set it up in the high camps. Don’t hesitate on consulting us about this option.

 

Breakfast in the high camps is served in your tent between 4.00am and 9.00am, depending on the activities of the day.

 

Packed Lunch is prepared the previous day by our guides.

 

Once in the high camp, and after the tents are set up, our guides give hot water to the climbers to continue hydrating with infusions.

 

To go to the bathroom in the high camps, our guides set up a toilet tent that is used to defecate. The waste is taken down in a container by one of our porters.

 

In every high camp, dinner is served early –between 6.00pm and 7.00pm– because of the cold weather. Each night our guides keep the team informed about the plan for the next day.

 

Each day, our guides report to the base camp and tell the news according to our contingency plan. They also use this communication to update the weather forecast. 

 

The summit day is a very special day. It takes at least 12hr of maximum effort to reach the top and come back to the high camp. The guide decides the time to start ascending according to the weather forecast and the performance of the group. The groups usually start the ascent very early –between 5.00am and 8.00am–, so, the previous night the group goes to rest early as well. The walking starts in the cold, windy night after a light breakfast. After reaching the top, the group has a brief moment to celebrate and to take pictures, to later return to the high camp, where plenty of liquid for hydration and a good dinner is waiting for the climbers.

 

If during the summit day a passenger must return to the high camp due to acclimatization problems, tiredness or any other reason, someone from our staff will escort him to the camp and take care of him. You will never be alone in the mountain.

FOOD AND WATER IN THE MOUNTAIN 

 

FOOD – GENERAL INFORMATION 

 

ACONCAGUA MOUNTAIN GUIDES provides all the food and meals to the passenger, from his entry to the Aconcagua Provincial Park until he gets out of the park after finishing the expedition.

 

Each menu has been specially designed to cover all the caloric necessities to recover from the energetic loss that takes place when climbing a mountain. We have even taken into consideration the quantities of the rations, so that our passengers can repeat as many times as they want.

 

We can also provide special menus such as vegetarian or celiac, for those who have previously requested them in the Personal Information Form or with our Customer Service Staff.

 

If you need further dietary requirements, please contact us to see if we can or cannot help you with it. If your necessity can’t be satisfied by us, you can bring your own food so that our mountain crew can prepare it.

 

Our meals service can be divided in two different stages: one is in the base camps and the other is in the high camps.

 

BASE CAMP MEALS

 

Our base camps have dome-type dining tents in which our clients have breakfast, lunch and dinner, for as long as they stay in them.

The supplies for the base camps arrive everyday with everything needed to prepare the meals, guarantying the freshness in the food used to cook. Besides, all of our camps follow strict regulations regarding cleanliness and hygiene established by our quality standards. Those regulations are supervised by the local Government Authorities –Aconcagua Provincial Park is under its supervision and ruling– through all the climbing season.

 

Just as an example, these are some of the MEALS served in the base camps:

 

Meatloaf with salad

Vegetable lasagna

Chicken paella

Baked meat in wine sauce with mashed pumpkin

Vegetable crêpes with salad

BBQ pork ribs with potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions

Eggplants and zucchinis Neapolitan style with mashed potatoes

Vegetable tortilla with baked potatoes

Different kinds of pizza

Cannelloni au gratin

Baked chicken with creamy potatoes

Ravioli with blue cheese sauce

 

Base camp BREAKFAST includes:

 

Tea

Coffee

Cappuccino

Powdered milk

Cocoa powder

Yogurt

Sugar

Sweetener

Cereal

Sliced bread

Butter

Marmalade

Milk caramel spread

Honey

Pudding

Scrambled eggs

HIGH CAMPS FOOD 

 

Every meal required during the time you spend in the high camps is included, and it has been carefully planned for you to get everything you might need.

 

The use of dinning tents is banned in the high camps, so the meals can be eaten inside or outside the sleeping tents, depending on the weather conditions.

 

The main meals, such as dinner, lunch or packed lunch have been previously established, and are made by our guides. For dinner, we usually serve pouched food in different flavors.

 

We have developed a system for breakfast and everyday infusions to be drunk in the high camps, in which you can choose the products you like, according to your own personal preference. This personal selection is made in the base camp on the first resting day of the program, with the assistance of the guides and the base camp food manager of the company.

 

SUPLEMENTARY FOOD

 

The Company provides with extra supplementary food such as candy, chocolate, energy bars or energy Gel. However, it would be a good idea to bring other types of extra food by yourself, since Argentina does not have a wide variety of international brands. If you have a favorite bar or candy, don’t forget to put them in your luggage.

 

WATER

All the water we drink in Aconcagua comes from streams and creeks formed by thawing. The only exception to this is the water we use in the high camps, which is obtained by melting snow.

 

The water served in the camps does not possess any kind of contaminant or pathogen, since the Park’s laws regarding this matter are very strict and are equally respected and supervised at all times by the Park Rangers. Hence, it is not necessary any kind of special filtering to assure its drinkability, because it is not exposed to pollutants of any kind. But, if you want to bring purification tablets or filters, you must bring them by yourself.

 

The Company will provide to the passengers with hot and cold water in the base camps and also in the high camps.

DAY PACK

 

The mountain can be divided in two parts:

 

One part is the entry to the Park and the approaching to the base camp.

The other one is from the base camp to the high camps.

 

Note: All the equipment and gear that you will need during the expedition, is listed in the “Personal Equipment and Clothing” list on each program.

 

APPROACHING TO THE BASE CAMP

 

In the first part of the approaching to the base camps, most of the equipment will be carried by mules. To do so, we ask our passengers to bring a resistant waterproof duffel bag to transport the gear in the mules. Our guides will advise you on what to carry in the backpack and what to leave in the duffel bag.

 

For the approaching trekking you must carry a small backpack (35 liters) with items like: lunch-pack (provided by the company), water or beverages to hydrate (up to 3liters depending on the stretch), light outerwear, rainproof jacket, sunglasses, sunscreen, buff, sun cap or hat and a camera.

 

For this treks you will use trekking shoes or boots. We recommend trekking pants instead of shorts to walk due to the extreme sun exposure -even on cloudy days- and the changing weather.

FROM THE BASE CAMPS TO THE HIGH CAMPS 

 

Once you leave the base camp to the high camps you no longer have mules to transport the equipment.

 

When moving to and between the high camps you will be responsible to carry all your personal gear. To do so, it is necessary to have a comfortable expedition backpack of no less than 70 liters to transport: sleeping bag, technical clothing and spare, toiletry bag, crampons and other things.

 

Don’t forget that, depending on the program you choose, you should also be capable of carrying part of the expedition equipment (stoves, fuel, pots, etc.) that your guide will give you to transport. Please read carefully the program you hire, and don’t hesitate on contacting us if you have a question.

 

Important: Our Company has a permanent staff of porters in the base camp to help our passengers move the equipment to the high camps. If you have signed to be in one of our expeditions, ask our sales staff about the special promotions on porter service.