Aconcagua 2001
It all started many months ago...
I can't remember whose idea it was, although probably Pat's since he went to Kilimanjaro, and joked about doing the seven summits.  For me, it was the opportunity to get high-altitude experience, and  to do a real expedition that would require real planning and commitment.  We would be away from "civilization" and exposed to real dangers.  It turns out, that we were not that far away from civilization, since the base camps in the mountain are like small cities, with full services, like food and drinks.  But undoubtedly, if you screw up there, you can really screw up big. 
So a plan became a reality...
So on January 2nd, after months of planning, we were actually on the trailhead!!!
Picture story.... a picture is worth a 1000 words, and a 1000 words is worth a picture...
Actual Itinerary
Like any MIT trip, this would not be one without statistics.  This itinerary is taken from reading from my Altimeter.  The altitudes are probably bit inaccurate, but like we learned in the mountain, there are very few accurate facts that you can count on.




Sleeping Altitude

Elev. Gain Elev. Loss


Dec 29 (Fri)

Depart NYC 9pm

0 ft



Dec 30 (Sat)

Arrive Medoza, Argentina 11am

2400 ft


-Get climbing permit, and buy bus tickets.

Dec 31 (Sun). New Year's Eve.

Bus ride to Penitentes

7600 ft


Bus Ride is about 4h00m.  It leaves at 6am and 10am.  Recommend on taking the earlier one, since it is less crowded.

Jan 1 (Mon)

Stay at Penitentes, day hike

7600 ft



Jan 2 (Tue)

Hike to La Lena shelter w. mules

8800 ft

1600 ft -130 ft


Jan 3 (Wed)

Hike to Casa de Piedra w. mules

10500 ft

1220 ft -70 ft

-6h30m.  Casa de Piedra has a spring, and nice meadow to camp in.

Jan 4 (Thu)

Hike to Plaza Argentina w. mules

13800 ft

3700 ft -60 ft

- 8h20m.  Plaza Argentina is the base camp, outfitted with all the commodities, including food and drink services.  It has access to water.

Jan 5 (Fri)

Rest Day, hike around

13800 ft

1340 ft -1310 ft

2h30m, I just hiked to a little prow next to base camp.

Jan 6 (Sat)

Rest Day, hike to Ibanez Col.

13800 ft

2800 ft -2800 ft

 6h20m.  Ibanez Col separates Plaza Argentina from Plaza de Francia (South Face), it is a recommended day hike, plus you get impressive views of the towering South Face.

Jan 7 (Sun)

Food carry to Camp 1

13800 ft

2490 ft -2490 ft

-4h00m up, 1h00m down

Jan 8 (Mon)

Move camp to Camp 1

16400 ft

2430 ft 0 ft


-Running water in afternoon

Jan 9 (Tue)

Rest Day

 16400 ft



Jan 10 (Wed)

Food carry to Camp 2

 16400 ft

2790 ft -2900 ft


Jan 11 (Thu)

Rest Day 16400 ft      

Jan 12 (Fri)

Move camp to Camp 2

19300 ft

2980 ft -220 ft


Jan 13 (Sat)

First summit attempt

19300 ft

360 ft -320 ft

1h50m first summit attempt, started at 4:30am

Jan 14 (Sun)

Second Summit Attempt

19300 ft

2720 ft -2760 ft

12h50m, second summit attempt, turned back due to bad weather.

Jan 15 (Mon)

Descend to Base Camp

13800 ft

30 ft -5080 ft

3h30m, Down to Base Camp

Jan 16 (Tue)

Descend plaza de Lenas

8800 ft

20 ft -4020 ft


Jan 17 (Wed)

to Trailhead

 7600 ft

220 ft -1540 ft


Jan 18 (Thu)

Descend to Puenta del Inca

7600 ft