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Title image - BAI takes you to: Aconcagua
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Aconcagua Expedition Dispatches

January 13, 2009 – Preparing for Aconcagua

I’m calling you from the village of Penitentes at 8,400 ft in the Andes Mountains. Yesterday after we left Mendoza, the group told me they really enjoyed the drive through the Argentine countryside. The landscape changed rapidly as we went from wine country, up a river valley and eventually approached the higher mountains. We stopped for lunch at our favorite BBQ place along the way; a stop that has been well known by BAI Aconcagua teams who have been coming to and going from the mountains for years.

The team stops for lunch at BAI’s favorite BBQ restaurant

The team stops for lunch at BAI’s

favorite BBQ restaurant

We arrived at our hotel last night where we will be staying as we acclimatize. We are right across from a ski area and when the group got out of the car last night they headed right across and started climbing up the trails for acclimatization; they went about 1,000 ft uphill.

When we got back down we were still waiting for all the bags to come from Mendoza on a different truck. Leila and some of the guys were still back at the airport in Mendoza to collect the final baggage that was delayed on the airlines coming in. Mark’s bag was the last to finally arrive but it got here! This is not unusual. Delayed bags are something that we deal with on all of our trips. Airlines don’t really lose bags but sometimes it takes a while to get here. Leila and the rest of the gang arrived here at the hotel about midnight.

We didn’t get up really early this morning but when we did get up we were excited because we knew we were going to drive up to the pass between Chile and Argentina. We could feel what its like to breath at 3,800 m/12,500 ft for the first time on this trip. It was a beautiful clear day today and we have spectacular views. We got our first full view of Aconcagua. We stopped to take photographs and got really inspired. The air was really thin but the weather was spectacular!

First glimpse of Aconcagua in the distance

First glimpse of Aconcagua in the distance

We came back early because we have a lot of organizing to do. Everyone is preparing their duffel bags so they can be loaded onto the mules tomorrow; this will make our climb a little less strenuous. Tomorrow morning we will leave for our first camp on the mountain called Confluencia.

Right now I can see some of the team walking up the ski hill again to continue with acclimatizing. The Andean sky is still blue and this team is excited to start their trek on Aconcagua. It will be a challenging trek but we are ready to go!