January 19, 2007 -  Sights and Sounds of Plaza de Mulas

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Berg Adventures base camp at Plaza de Mulas

Plaza de Mulas or the Base Camp for climbing Aconcagua from the normal route has been the most famous and intriguing mountaineering camps in the world for many decades now.  It’s really not like any other place in the world.  It’s very international.  The starting point is probably the mules, the supply trains of mules that come in daily are what defines the place.  People have good supplies here and support for climbing much higher to the very highest point in South America, Aconcagua, which we intent to do in the next few days.

Of course most people who come here have to spend more time than we do, not having acclimatized on another mountain as we did.  It’s really enjoyable to meet people and see folks from all around the world.  Nikki commented to me, having been on the Polacos Glacier side last year, she said, ‘I thought it was suppose to be dirty over here’.  I don’t think it’s dirty at all, actually it’s not. It is very well maintained and organized.  Of course the helicopters come in daily now and fly away garbage and keep the place well stocked.

This mule decides he’s done for the dayI’m looking across at about a kilometer away at a hotel that has been here for many years.  Klaus and Martin actually walked over to visit the hotel.  We are really comfortable here at our camp.  We use one of several small restaurants that are operated inside tents to use as our base of operations here so those three amazing Bolivian guides, Oswaldo, Juancho and Jose Lito are freed up to do more mountaineering work.  In fact those guys left this morning with very heavy loads to go all the way up and stock the three camps above us. 

Right now as I look up at the higher reaches of Aconcagua I see a big rock tower which is Plaza Canada which will be our first camp.  The team will move up there tomorrow, set up our tents and because of our acclimatization we hope to move quickly to the upper camps and reach the summit in a few days time.

The tents of Plaza de MulasThis afternoon besides visiting the hotel we are going to go down and visit the doctors at the medical camp.  We were told when we arrived that because of an increasing number of uninformed and ill-equipped people, the check ups with the doctors are now required.  I’m sure we are going to find as we did last year, surprised and pleased looks on the doctors faces when they see a group with quite high O2 sats and acclimatization prior to coming to the mountain.

We’ll report to you as we do climb up to the higher camps.  Some of the civilized amenities of base camp will be gone but we will still have the satellite phone and report to you on our progress climbing to the summit of Aconcagua.

22,841 feet
6962 meters

22,637 feet
6900 meters