Historic Andes Survivors Expedition

Visit the site of the famous “Alive!” story, in the company of one of the survivors!

January 15 – 20, 2018

$3700

Includes: hotel and lodging in Argentina during itinerary; group gear (tents (shared), cooking utensils, etc.); all meals while on the mountain; horses; 4x4 vehicles; guides and support team; Eduardo Strauch (Andes Survivor), exclusive for the team.

Excludes: round trip airfare: US or point of origin – Mendoza, Argentina; hotel in Mendoza for days before or after itinerary; excess baggage charges and airport tax; personal gear; meals (other than breakfasts) in Mendoza or San Rafael; tips (restaurants, hotels and others); tips for guides; charges incurred as a result of delays or changes in the itinerary beyond our control.

Science in the Wild is excited to join survivor Eduardo Strauch and mountain guide Ricardo Peña (Alpine Expeditions), the host and leader of this expedition, for a special visit to the crash site of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. This was a chartered flight carrying 45 people, including a Uruguayan rugby team, their friends, family and associates, that crashed in the Andes on October 13, 1972. More than a quarter of the passengers died in the crash, and several others quickly succumbed to cold and injury. The last 16 survivors were rescued on December 23, 1972, more than 2 months after the crash.

The survivors had little food and no source of heat in the harsh conditions at over 11,800 ft. (3600 meters). Faced with starvation and radio news reports that the search for them had been abandoned, the survivors fed on the bodies of deceased passengers that had been preserved in the snow. Rescuers did not learn of the survivors until 72 days after the crash, when passengers Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa, after a 10-day trek across the Andes, found Chilean Sergio Catalán, who gave them food and then alerted the authorities to the existence of the other survivors.

This expedition is full of adventure, beauty and a wealth of information about the story of the Andes Survivors – here’s your chance to experience it and ask questions! Learn about the science of survival – how did the 16 survive more than 2 months in extreme conditions? What kind of geological terrain did they land in and how did they escape? How does the glacier of today compare with 1972, using archival photography? Help us collect snow samples to understand how quickly the glacier is melting.  Don’t miss an opportunity to experience this unique trip!

Trip Itinerary

January 15 - Arrival in Argentina

All participants will rendezvous at the Aconcagua Hotel in Mendoza, Argentina by 2 PM. At 2:30 PM, we will board our van and depart for San Rafael. In the evening we will have dinner with Eduardo and then check our equipment for early departure the next morning.

January 16 - El Barroso

We will have breakfast at the Tower hotel in San Rafael and then will load the vans and begin the drive into the mountains to the abandoned hotel and hot springs at the base of the 18,000 ft. volcano, El Sosneado. A bit farther down the valley we arrive at our horse post (7500 ft.) where we meet with our horses and handlers and then have lunch. We saddle up and begin our horse ride over rugged terrain to our camp at El Barroso river (8800 ft.). We’ll have spectacular views all day! Our cooks will prepare a wonderful dinner for us, and we spend our first night sleeping in tents.

January 17 - Valle de las Lagrimas

Today we ride horses to the Valle de las Lagrimas where the memorial is found, and where the survivors’ incredible story took place. This is an incredible valley surrounded by 15,000 ft. high snowcapped peaks and impressive glaciers. Depending on snow conditions, weather and participants’ preference, we may be able to offer some of our team members the choice of spending a night at a high camp (12,000 ft.) in this valley. Eduardo and the rest of the members will return to our lower camp to spend the night. If you are interested in spending the night at this high camp, it is important that you have warm gear and that you tell us well in advance. We will try to accommodate your preference but we are limited by conditions on the glacier and weather factors, so we cannot guarantee a night at the glacier.

January 18 - Valle de las Lagrimas

Participants staying at the high camp will go explore the surroundings. Those with mountaineering experience have the option of doing an alpine ascent of some of the nearby glaciers for even more spectacular views (ask ahead of time about the mountaineering option, as this requires technical gear). Those staying with Eduardo at the lower camp will have the options of doing a scenic horse ride to a beautiful lake on a glacial basin, going for a hike or resting in camp. This gives participants the chance to spend more time with Eduardo and ask questions. In the evening we will all meet at the lower camp and have dinner together. If the weather is good (and it often is this time of year) we may build a bonfire and enjoy the stars, a good Argentinean wine and perhaps some music, as Ricardo often brings a guitar or ukelele to the expedition. We have one last night in tents.

January 19 - San Rafael

Today we ride back to the horse camp where we will meet with our 4×4 vehicles. We’ll have lunch at the horse post and then head out of the mountains and down to San Rafael to the Tower hotel. We will have a great celebration with a wonderful dinner and excellent wines and enjoy our luxurious hotel.

January 20 - Mendoza, Argentina

We drive back to Mendoza today. This is the end of the trip. Arrange for a flight that departs Mendoza, Argentina after 4 PM. Many participants stay an extra day to enjoy Mendoza. If you would like to stay an extra night in Mendoza we can help you arrange for a hotel and transportation (cost not included in itinerary).

Ok, I'm interested, what do I do now?

Send us an email or give us a call to register your interest. We’ll provide you with an equipment list and required medical forms.

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