Argentina 2018 – Aconcagua

Celebrate Christmas and New Year’s on one of the world’s 7 summits!

Summit Climbing from December 25, 2018 – January 11, 2019

Includes: hotels in Mendoza (single supplements apply) during the itinerary; lodging in Penitentes; private transport to/from park; three meals/day, tea and tents on trail and mountain; mule gear transport; base camp internet services.

Excludes: international airfare, excess baggage fees (international), visa (if needed), porters*, climbing/trekking permit, gear rental, rescue insurance, helicopter, alcoholic beverages, tips for guides and educators

 *Porter fees (from 2017 amounts), by camp, should you choose to hire someone to help load carry:

Base camp to Camp 1: $150; Camp 1 to Camp 2: $250; Camps 1 or 2 to Camp 3: $350; High Camp to base camp: $350

Interested in trekking in the Andes? If so, then join Science in the Wild for our expedition to Aconcagua (6962 m/22,841 ft.) in December 2018. Celebrate Christmas and New Year’s in the Southern Hemisphere, climbing one of the 7 summits! You’ll learn about the geology of the landscape, help us collect snow samples towards understanding how the snowpack is changing in the high alpine region, and participate in studies to understand how our bodies acclimate to such extreme altitudes.

Deposition of dust and black carbon or soot (pollution) is a problem on accumulation zones of valley glaciers and on snowpack worldwide. This soot is the result of incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuels (e.g., Goldberg et al., 1985), while dust is released from devegetated or dry soils due to land use changes. These dark contaminants absorb more solar radiation, much like you do when wearing a dark versus light t-shirt, thereby reducing the natural albedo (reflectivity) of snow and ice, and leading to enhanced melting (e.g., Kaspari et al., 2011). Help us study these effects firsthand!

Goldberg, E., (1985), Black carbon in the environment, Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Kaspari, S. D., Schwikowski, M., Gysel, M., Flanner, M. G., Kang, S., Hou, S., and Mayewski, P. A., (2011), Recent increase in black carbon concentrations from a Mt. Everest ice core spanning 1860–2000 AD, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L04703, doi:10.1029/2010gl046096.

Trip Itinerary

December 25 - Travel Day

This will be a travel day from your home country to Mendoza, Argentina. Plan to arrive to Mendoza in the afternoon or evening. We will greet you at the airport and provide transport to the Aconcagua hotel for the night. We’ll celebrate Christmas dinner in a delicious restaurant downtown!

December 26 - Mendoza

Today we will have some time to explore the city of Mendoza, as well as apply for and collect our climbing permits. We will do a gear check, a discussion on what to expect on the science side of things (with demos), and a wine and dine in the evening.

December 27 - Penitentes

Today we will make our way over to Penitentes by private transport. Once there, we will organize the mules (for gear carry tomorrow), have dinner, and overnight and shower in a lodge-style hotel.

December 28 - Confluencia Camp

Today we will check in at the park ranger’s station at Horcones and then make our way to Confluencia camp (3390 m/11,122 ft.). We will overnight here in tents and enjoy the beautiful night sky! We’ll also begin collecting information on our health – resting heart rates, spO2 (oxygen saturation levels), blood pressure, amount of water consumed, etc.

December 29 - Plaza Francia - Confluencia

Leaving Confluencia, we will trek up to Plaza Francia at 13,780 ft. (4200 meters). Our trek will take 7 – 8 hrs as we follow the Horcones glacier up. During this trek we will have spectacular views of Aconcagua’s South face towering above us where we can take pictures. We then return to Confluencia and camp for a second night.

December 30 - Base Camp

Today is a long day on trail (8-9 hours), ascending to Plaza de Mulas (4250 m/13,943 ft.), which will be our base camp for the climb. After setting up camp and having dinner, we will head to bed early!

December 31 - Rest Day

After the long day yesterday, today is set aside as a rest day at base camp. We’ll have time to sort through our gear and do some exploration around the area to acclimate to the higher altitude. In the afternoon, depending on conditions at base camp, we will do a demo with some of the snow sampling gear. We also will check in at the medical tent, to make sure everyone is acclimatizing well. In the evening, we’ll have a special New Year’s Eve celebration!

January 1 - Camp 1 and Base Camp

Today we make the slow trek up to Camp 1, called Plaza Canada (4900 m/16,076 ft.). If you opted to have a porter, they will help carry extra supplies (e.g., your high mountain gear that you do not want to carry tomorrow) for a cache. We will return to base camp and overnight there, as part of our acclimatization.

January 2 - Camp 1

We make our way back up to Camp 1 (Plaza Canada) today, where we will spend the night at just over 16,000 ft. We will take breaks every hour, and check in with each other to ensure everyone is well-hydrated, fed, and happy (no headaches). There will be some time to point out and talk about the incredible geology of the region.

January 3 - Camp 2

Today we make our way up to Camp 2, called Nico de Condores (5400 m/17,716 ft.). If you opted to have a porter, they will help carry your gear up to camp. Given the large gain in altitude, we will be trekking slowly and admiring the geology!

January 4 - Camp 2 rest day

We will take a rest day today, to get used to the higher altitude. There is a chance to explore around camp, learning more about the geology of the region. If there’s snow on the ground here, we’ll spend some time taking samples and measurements.

January 5 - Camp 3 and Camp 2

Today we make the slow trek up to Camp 3, called Camp Colera (6000 m/19,685 ft.). If you opted to have a porter, they will help carry extra supplies (e.g., your high mountain gear that you do not want to carry tomorrow) for a cache. On the way back down, we will collect snow samples and make some measurements. Then we will return to Camp 2 and overnight there, as part of our acclimatization.

January 6 - Camp 3

We make the push up to Camp 3 (19,685 ft.) today, over about 4 hours, taking care to check in with each other, to make sure everyone is feeling healthy and strong. We will overnight here.

January 7 - Summit!

Today we make the push to Aconcagua’s 6,972 m/22,874 ft. summit! This will be a very long and demanding day, but worth it to see the view from the top! On the descent, we will stop and collect snow samples, completing an altitudinal profile.

January 8 - Base Camp

Today we will make the long descent to Plaza de Mulas. Once at base camp, we’ll enjoy a nice big dinner!

January 9 - Penitentes

We exit the park at Horcones today and make our way back to our hotel at Penitentes. We’ll enjoy a nice dinner, hot showers, and some much needed down time!

January 10 - Mendoza

Today we take a private vehicle back to Mendoza, where we’ll overnight at the Aconcagua hotel. We’ll have a final group dinner at one of the local restaurants.

January 11 - Departure*

Today you will depart for home!

*In case of bad weather on the mountain, it is good to budget a few extra weather days. These extra days, once back in Mendoza, will be at your own expense.

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

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