The Grand Traverse of the North face of Aconcagua, sometimes named `False Polish’ represents the most aesthetic side from where to attempt the summit, farther from the beaten path, and following a gradual progression. We follow the Vacas valley to reach the Plaza Argentina base camp (Eastern side of the mountain). We have chosen this route as an alternate option as the more pristine Guanacos valley was closed by the Provincial Park officers due to a legal dispute with a local NGO. From here we will climb the entire non-technical north face, connecting with the regular route on summit day. Finally, we descend towards Plaza de Mulas to hike out along the Horcones Valley (West side of the mountain). This means that we will circumnavigate the entire mountain enjoying the views of this giant from all possible angles.
From November 15th through March 15th.
This high altitude expedition is for the novice and experienced mountaineer. A previous hiking & camping experience and good physical fitness are primarily important, as it is a positive attitude towards dealing with the uncertainties of mountaineering. Participants will be expected to carry 30 pound loads mostly on trails, hike on talus, ice and snow. Hiking times will be anywhere between 6 to 12 hrs. An excellent physical condition does not guarantee success in acclimatization; however it might contribute positively to maintain an appropriate summit pace and recover faster from the effort.
All ground transportation. All hotel stays: two nights in Park Hyatt Mendoza, two nights in Penitentes Ski area, one night in the Plaza de Mulas Hotel. All meals in Penitentes and Plaza de Mulas hotels. All expedition meals. All pack mules. Group gear: tents, first aid kits, communication devices, barometer, altimeter, GPS, Oximeter, technical equipment. All cooking gear. The participant-guide ratio will be 4:1. Usually groups of up to 10 individuals. We ensure a 3:1 ratio for summit day.
International and domestic flights, personal equipment (please, request our list), meals in Mendoza and/or in transit. Alcoholic beverages. Aconcagua climbing permit (We will assist in buying the permit). Personal porters. Evacuation and early departure costs.
Arrive in Mendoza. We will meet you at the airport and drive you to the hotel. Group meeting at hotel. Formal introductions of the group and guides. Review gear with guides. Time to go and rent the appropriate personal gear.
Transfer & resting
Lodge in Penitentes Ski Area
Pick-up climbing permits and last minute supplies. Lunch. Transfer to Penitentes ski area at 2700 m (8,800 ft). Afternoon light hike is optional though recommended.
Pampa de Leñas camp
Approach to Base Camp. Mules carry our gear. After a jeep ride to the trail head we will hike for about 4 hours along the Vacas Valley, arriving at Pampa de Leñas Camp and ranger station.
Casa de Piedra camp
On our second approach day we continue up the Vacas River to the confluence with the Relinchos creek and our second camp, after 6 hrs. From this spot we’ll be able to see the entire East face of Aconcagua with the Polish Glacier.
Plaza ArgentinaBase camp
After crossing the Rio de Las Vacas, we hike 9 miles up the steep, narrow Relinchos Valley to the moraine that marks the Plaza Argentina, our base camp at 13,780'. This camp is located on the stable rock-covered glacier and has well protected campsites. (6-8 hours)
Plaza Argentina Base camp
Rest day and acclimatization day at Base Camp.
Plaza Argentina Base camp
Carry a load to Camp 1 at 4800 m (16,000 ft). We leave basecamp and head northwest over the moraine of the Relinchos Glacier. After negotiating a traverse through a field of Penitentes (ice and snow daggers formed by the sun), we cross a small stream and arrive at the site of Camp I (16,000') beneath some large rocks. (4-6 hours) We cache food and gear, enjoy a leisurely lunch and begin the descent back to Plaza Argentina base camp.
Plaza Argentina Basecamp
Rest day at basecamp.
Move to Camp 1.
Rest day at Camp 1.
We’ll climb past the Ameghino Col (17,650 ft.) to Camp 2 at the base of the Polish Glacier at 19,350 ft., approximately 6 hours from Camp I. Here we cache gear and return back down to Camp 1.
Move to camp 2.
Rest day at camp.
Move to Camp 3. The Polish Traverse crosses north and west on slopes up to 35 degrees and joins the Normal Route at Independencia 6,200m (20,300'). Camp 3 can vary in its location.
Summit day! We will have three days to try reaching the Summit at 6962 m (22,800 ft).
Pza. de Mulas Hotel
Descend down the Regular Route all the way to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp. We will enjoy dinner and spend the night at the Plaza de Mulas Mountain Hotel at 4300 m (14,000 ft).
Descend along the Horcones Valley, with impressive views of Aconcagua's South Face. Mules carry our gear. Night and dinner in Penitentes.
Transfer & Resting
Hotel in Mendoza
Transfer to Mendoza. Celebration dinner and wine tasting in a gourmet restaurant.
Transfer to the airport, fly home. END OF OUR SERVICES.
Note: This is a proposed itinerary and is subject to change due to weather conditions, mountain conditions, group characteristics and unforeseen circumstances. When planning your travel dates, please give yourself a couple of extra days for this reason. meridies® will not be responsible for any extra costs for missed flights, extra ground transportation costs or extra hotel nights due to delays in returning to Mendoza or any medical or non-medical evacuation.
Note: Personal porters can be hired in Mendoza. Please give us notice and we’ll provide you with the appropriate quotation and reservation for this service.