On Top!Guided Aconcagua Expeditions
John called in at 8:15 Pacific time this morning to say that the team was on top! It is a beautiful day, although not an easy one because of the wind. It was however warm enough that their water bottles did not freeze in their packs. Everyone did a great job on the climb and are now headed down the mountain.
and John & Joel!
John said that they were climbing on snow from the time they left high camp this morning all the way to the summit. This is unusual for an Aconcagua summit day. These photos from a previous Aconcagua summit day are more representative of typical conditions.
Independencia Hut (Ruins) @ ~20,800'
From their high camp the team soon connected with the normal route. The Polish traverse and normal route merge near the Independencia hut. Soon after this you begin the "windy traverse" where you are often exposed to the Viento Blanco, the white wind. I have been as cold on this traverse as I have been on any Denali summit day.
After you finish this long cold traverse you arrive under the "Canteleta" the final gully which leads up to the summit. This is often especially challenging due to the scree so snow was probably a welcome surprise for the group.
The team will spend tonight at Camp Cholera before heading down to Plaza de Mulas, base camp for the normal route, tomorrow. From Plaza de Mulas it should take 1 day to hike out to the trailhead. Depending on what time they make it to the trailhead on Tuesday it is likely that they will drive back to Mendoza that evening. With 3 nights in Mendoza the team should be able to put back on some of the weight they lost on the mountain.