Aconcagua 2018

 

 ‘The climb up Aconcagua has been one of the biggest highlights and achievements of my life, really proud of what we all achieved. For me it’s opened doors to what else we can challenge ourselves to if we simply commit to something.’ (Craig)

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Mountain air is cold and bone-dry and we need our big down suits. Aconcagua is notorious for strong winds and temperatures can drop well below zero. There have been recorded wind speeds of 140 miles an hour, so you better watch out for your guy-lines! Sleeping that high is hard and we’re tossing and turning every hour in the tent.

 

Aconcagua is the highest peak in South America at 6,962 meters. There are no glaciers to cross, crevasses, ropes or rapelling. But the high altitude, winds and temperature do their bit to make the climb a mental and physical endurance test. Most people need several attempts to complete the mountain – even Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

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As part of our small team you’ll pose smiling for the group picture before setting off to enter the Andes. Then comes the long hike to base camp through the dry and dusty terrain of the Horcones Valley, 16 miles, gaining 5000 feet of elevation. It is a gorgeous place where the film ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ was shot. The mules follow us laden heavily with our equipment, but they are quick and nimble on the rocky trails. They are sturdy animals, carrying up to 60kg. The south face of Aconcagua rises above, the ‘Eigerwand of the Andes’, first ascended in 1954.

 

Leaving Camp Confluencia behind at 10,800 feet, we descend into the gorge to enter the wide river section and from there the Upper Horcones Valley. This is an amazing place, framed by massive peaks on either side. Groups passing us on their way down bear sunburns, weathered ‘mountain faces’ and smug smiles – they’ve made it.

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Base Camp at Plaza de Mulas, perched at 14,400ft, is a surreal place. It is built on a giant glacial moraine. There are hundreds of tents filled with climbers from every corner of the world – a real seasonal community. It is the largest base camp in the world outside of Everest, and it even has an art gallery, hot showers and satellite internet connections. Expect big meals and great steaks! It is easy to forget the crowdedness of this place when watching the evening light illuminate the west face of Aconcagua, turning yellow, orange and finally bright red.

 

You don’t care that you are tired and cold. Here you are, with the peak right in front of you. It’s your dream.

 

Are you ready to join us?

 

 

Exped Adventure runs the 23-day climb in January 2018. Get in touch on info@dev4.thedesignworks.co.uk or 07854197584 to get to know more about the expedition.

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