January 20 - Arriving at Plaza de Mules
Hello, this is Grant Meekins reporting from Aconcagua. January 20th was a big day for the Berg Adventures group. We started at Puente del Inca camp at 10,800 feet (3 290m) and 28 kilometers later we arrived at Plaza de Mules at 14,000 feet (4 267m).
Along the way we not only climbed the over 3,000 feet (914m) but we also crossed the Horcones River several times. Getting across the river without getting our feet wet was challenging and our Argentinean guides Marcus and Pablo were a big help in getting gear and people across the stream.
Meanwhile Norb Gorman and Paul Stempin did some exploration, some river exploration for another place to cross. They found one and they also found an interesting scramble up to join the regular trail and the rest of the team.
When we had the whole group together we then continued up the valley to Plaza de Mulas. Now you may wonder what Plaza de Mulas means, it means Mule Plaza or Mule Square. On this expedition we’re using mules to help carry our gear. It is interesting that in different parts of the world people use different types of pack animals. Sometimes it’s yaks, sometimes camels or even lamas. But here at Aconcagua we are using mules.
A mule is a cross between a horse and a donkey and they are very strong, very fast and very sure footed. They move so fast on these narrow trails that a person walking needs to be careful to stay out of their way. In any case the mules only carry gear to Plaza de Mulas, Mule Square, then they are unloaded and they go all the way back to the start of the trail each day.
Of course that means starting on January 21st all of our gear will be carried by people, no more mules. We are all looking forward to the challenge, and we are all fit and healthy. Tomorrow is a rest day and then we start up the mountain. So goodbye for now, from Plaza de Mulas, Mount Aconcagua.