January 19 - On The Trail To Aconcagua
Hello, this is Grant Meekins reporting from Puente del Inca camp on the Berg Adventures Expedition to Aconcagua. On the last report we were in Copiapo, Chile and we had just finished the Ojos del Salado portion of our expedition.
Well, after Copiapo the group traveled by plane to Mendoza, Argentina. We spent two great days resting in Mendoza, it’s a beautiful city of about half a million people situated a 180 km east of Mount Aconcagua. Mendoza is famous for its fine beef steaks and fine red wine and we all enjoyed the great food. In fact one of our team members, specifically Bruce Weisman put on amazing demonstration of meat eating that will probably be talked about in Mendoza for years, it was phenomenal.
Today the well fed team traveled by bus to the trail head for Aconcagua. We walked in under the incredible south face of the mountain, which was stunning! The views were absolutely breath taking. Fortunately the entire group is well acclimatized from our time on Ojos del Salado, so we easily walked in just over 2 hours on a trail that normally takes people 4 or 5 hours.
As we walked we noticed the striking differences between Aconcagua and Ojos del Salado. Ojos is in the Atacama Desert and has almost no vegetation whatsoever, there are also very few people that climb Ojos. Here on the trail to Aconcagua there is a lot of green grass and other vegetation and also a lot of people. Aconcagua is extremely popular of course because it is the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, at almost 7000 meters (22,900 feet).
Fortunately the whole team is feeling fit and healthy, but we’re looking forward to climbing this huge, beautiful mountain. Tomorrow we have a big day ahead; we are going to hike to Plaza de Mulas where the real climbing begins. So bye for now. This is Grant Meekins on the trail to Aconcagua.