Just a few short days ago, our team of 6 coalesced in Mendoza from various parts of the U.S. and South America. The lead guides for this group are the one and only Adrian Ballinger who is working alongside the man the myth the legend, Jaime Avila. Dinner of course was delicious as it always is in Mendoza accompanied by world class Malbec wines. The easy going atmosphere wouldn’t last long though as the next day the team was in a shuttle heading towards the town of Penitentes where the plan was to hitch a ride with the local helicopter to base camp. Alpenglow’s plan is always to get a lift into base camp the same evening our team arrive into Penitentes, but in some cases our teams overnight there and fly the next morning.
Everything went as expected with smooth logistics and solid relationships built over years of climbing in this region and our team was carried to base camp on the evening of January 22, just one day after everyone had arrived into Argentina. The helicopter pilot “Duro” is an incredible friend of Alpenglow’s and the ride into base camp on Aconcagua gives our teams the best views of the mountain.
The team and all of their bags made it into base camp just before sunset. Our base camp team, powered by Aconcagua Visions, welcomed us with open arms. With beautiful base camp kitchens complete with wood floors and spotless dining rooms, Alpenglow is incredibly happy to be partnered with this team of professionals.
And so it begins…
On the morning of January 23rd the team got out and had a little acclimatization hike up to 15,250′. Cerro Colorado provides an excellent day at altitude and gives our teams a fantastic view of the mountain. Adrian relayed to the office that “both groups crushed it” and we can only assume everyone is feeling good and strong. That evening the team was treated to traditional Asodo cooked over coals… a serious treat in an international base camp.
Today, the team woke up to a rest day and they’re using the time to prepare for moving up the mountain. They rested, packed, and practiced a bunch of skills for the upper mountain and of course they pored over weather forecasts. The forecast is looking a little challenging with winds increasing through the week. Both teams plan to move to c1 on January 25th. If a summit window doesn’t open for the 29th or 30th, they will drop back to base camp on the 26th with light bags, leaving tents and all climbing and cooking equipment at c1. The final plan will be to move back up the mountain on the 27th or 28th. The team’s last possible summit day is February 1.