Secret Mustache

Adventures of a Scruffy Nerf Herder

Aconcagua - pre-trip

27 November 2013


What a motivating and inspirational year this has been; continued involvement in the open source communities surrounding Mozilla, moving back to Colorado, having our first child [1], and now this trip.

After a year of planning, I leave in a week and a half for Argentina to join a small group of climbers, 7 in total. We’ll spend roughly 3 weeks climbing in the Andes; specifically our objective is to climb Aconcagua whose summit sits at 22,841 ft (6,962 m).

I've been out of the high altitude climbing scene for almost a decade. I'm thrilled to be back and overjoyed to be joining KMG on this trip. I've known Josh Kling (the owner) and several of the other team members for quite some time. This will be a reunion with friends both old and new.

The Route


The route that we are taking, Folso De Los Polaco 360, circumnavigates Aconcagua and provides a variety of new terrain and views throughout the entirety of the trip. The climb begins by trekking up the Vacas and Relinchos valleys where mules will porter our food and equipment to our base camp at 13,780 ft.

From base camp onwards our group will climb the mountain, ferrying supplies to higher camps as we get acclimated until we are in a position to make our summit bid. All told we'll have 3 additonal camps above 13,780 ft before our bid.

After summiting we descend the opposite side of the mountain to Plaza de Mulas, trekking out the Horcones valley.

Ruta Folso De Los Polaco 360

Aconcagua 360 route

map courtesy of Inka Expediciones

[Semi-]Live Updates

Our external communications to the world during the trip will be fairly limited. KMG is bringing a satiliate phone to send out updates and for the rare event of an emergency. Several times during the trip updates will be passed back to the USA where they will be posted to Facebook - Kling Mountain Guides. Updates will be rare and low-bandwith, no update is a good update.

live mountain cam

live mountain cam

Itenerary (Dec 8th - 29th)

  • Day 1 - fly to Mendoza and obtain climbing permit (2,400 ft)
  • Day 2 - drive from Mendoza to Villa de Penitentes (8,859 ft)
  • Day 3 - hike from Penitentes to Pampa de Leñas (9,679 ft)
  • Day 4 - hike from Pampa de Leñas to Casa de Piedra (10,630 ft)
  • Day 5 - hike from Casa de Piedra to Plaza Argentina basecamp (13,780 ft)
  • Day 6 - rest day at Plaza Argentina (13,780 ft)
  • Day 7 - carry supplies and equipment to Camp 1 (16,400 ft)
  • Day 8 - rest day at Plaza Argentina (13,780 ft)
  • Day 9 - move to Camp 1 (16,400 ft)
  • Day 10 - carry supplies and equipment to Camp 2 (18,545 ft)
  • Day 11 - rest day at Camp 1 (16,400 ft)
  • Day 12 - move to Camp 2 (18,545 ft)
  • Day 13 - rest day or move to Camp 3 (19,685 ft)
  • Day 14 thru 18 - Summit (22,841 ft), contingency days built into schedule
  • Day 19 - move from Camp 3 to Plaza de Mulas base camp (14,337 ft)
  • Day 20 - hike from Plaza de Mulas to Penitentes and drive back to Mendoza (2,400 ft)
  • Day 21 - fly home; Mendoza to Durango, Colorado (6,512 ft)

Full Itenerary.


Animas Mountain training day

As you might imagine an undertaking of this magnitude means a lot of planning as well as the need for lots of shiny, fun equipment. The climb itself will travel through a wide temperature range; the trek in is relatively warm, as we progress up the mountain we'll slowly begin piling on more and more layers.

For a full list of equipment here is my gear list. For those who have future ambitions of climbing Acongagua I'm happy to chat with you post-trip about what worked and didn't work for this trip.

Research for this trip was greatly aided by what I could scour off of the equipment lists of others and tips from KMG, I hope my list is helpful. Note I've not included group gear on the list, I'll post one once we return.


Erin and Miles

Very simply a big thank you to my partner, Erin, for helping me realize and chase after this goal. It would've been a big year without including this trip.

Thank you for supporting me with my [sometimes bordering on] obsurd workout schedule of crossfit, running, climbing, and mountain biking (my guilty pleasure). It's been a full year.

This entry was tagged as climbing life outdoors

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