6th to 22nd February

Thursday 6 February (Day 01)

After a good night of sleep, we set up the last things, and prepare our bags for the expedition. Klaus and Federico drive us to the NH hotel at 2pm. That’s where we met our guide Mariano, along with the rest of the team: the other two guides, Chobi and Soldado, and 9 other people: Julia and Joseph from Austria, Jurgen and Karl from Germany, Sylwia and Anna Maria from Poland, Ayesha Sara end Mona from Saudi Arabia! We are 11 trekkers along with 3 guides.

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The three guides, Mariano, Chobi and Soldado

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Mona, Sara and Ayesha

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Joseph, Julia and Sylwia

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Karl, Jurgen and Anna Marya

After the introductory speech, a guide comes to our room to check our gears. We then go to a mountaineering shop to rent the needed gears. We are surprised by the cost for renting: 780 US$ for two sleeping bags, two big backpacks, two pairs of rigid plastic boots and crampons, and a few more small things. So we have to go back to Federico’s house to take more dollars and the flag that we had forgotten!

We have dinner in the restaurant La Florencia, some delicious pasta. Back at the hotel, we prepare the bags for tomorrow and go to sleep.

Friday 7 February (Day 02)

The meeting is at 9 this morning, so we get up at 7h30 to have time to enjoy the buffet breakfast in this luxurious hotel. After breakfast, we load the bags in the minibus we’ll take today, and start the paperwork. First we go to change some money (at the black market) at the rate of 11 pesos for 1 dollar (much lower than in Buenos Aires). Then we go to pay for the permits: 4000 pesos per person, and finally we obtain the permit and leave for the mountains. We very soon see white-capped mountains. And the road crosses wonderful landscapes, mostly mineral. We think that we’ll take this same road after Aconcagua, to cycle to Chile, it’s going to be tough, but so beautiful!

We arrive at 14h30 in Penitentes, just on time for lunch. We’ll spend here our last night in hotel. In the afternoon, we prepare the bags for the mules (they’ll carry most of the weight till the base camp, called Plaza de Mulas, at 4300m), and walk a little in the surroundings. After a last good dinner, we go to sleep, full of curiosity for the adventure starting tomorrow.

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Saturday 8 February (Day 03)

We get up around 8h for the breakfast at the hotel. We then leave for the entrance of Aconcagua Park. We will have our expedition at the same time as two other groups. One of them of Argentinians and Mexicans, and the other one of Americans, Brazilians, Canadians. We start walking around 11, going towards the magnificient Aconcagua. We walk slowly, but today is a short day so we enjoy the landscapes. All around us are rocks of different colours: red, green, grey, black, brown, and orange. And we are lucky to see a couple of condors!

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Here is the beast!

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A group photo, and let’s go!

We arrive at Confluencia (3400m), our camp for the next two nights at 14h. We spend the rest of the afternoon resting, drinking water (very important for acclimatization), and talking with the other trekkers (Argentinians, Mexicans, Canadians). In fact, the Mexicans Memo and José María are from near Puebla, Cholula, exactly the same town as Pepito, and of course, they know him! the world is so small!

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The two Canadian girls, us with the Mexicans and Argentinians

For dinner, we have soup and spaghetti. Perfect for hydrating and preparing tomorrow’s efforts. We go to sleep quite soon because the temperature is decreasing fast after the beautiful sunset we have:

Sunday 9 February (Day 04)

We had a good long night. We woke up several times, but no problem to sleep and no headache. The sleeping bags we rented are really hot, too much for this altitude.

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At the breakfast, Mariano explains us today’s route. We will go to the mirador of the South face of Aconcagua, at 4100m high, and come back to sleep in Confluencia. Further on this route is the place called Plaza Francia (but we stop before it, pity!) in honour of the first expedition who climbed Aconcagua through this difficult and dangerous face in 1954.

We need some 4 hours to arrive to the mirador, with small breaks every hour. The mountains around us show folded layers of different colours, the witnesses of millions of years of tectonic movements. The Andes mountains are the result of the oceanic Nazca plate being pushed under the South American plate.

The view on the South face is really impressive. We see several avalanches on this mixture of cliffs, glaciers, and very steep snow-covered slopes. How can anyone imagine climbing this? We have lunch looking at this sumptuous giant.

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Cajophora coronata, Astragalus arnottianus

The way down comes without problem, except that we start to have headache from the altitude. We have a medical check to see if we can continue. Ju: 92% saturation of O2, heartbeat of 112, pressure 120/80. All good. For Mick: 93%, 86 and 120/80. That’s perfect. For dinner, we have a soup, and then chicken with purée. We go to sleep around 21h.

Monday 10 February (Day 05)

We get up at 6, it’s still dark outside, with a beautiful sky. We pack everything and dismount the tents. We’ll be in Plaza de Mulas tonight. We leave after breakfast, at 8. We take the same trail as yesterday for half an hour and then cross a river to continue to Plaza de Mulas. Many times during the day, we are passed by the mules, so we have to get out of the trail (go on the upper side of the trail, in case the mules push you, you won’t fall in the valley) to let them pass. We walk in the morning on Playa Ancha: it’s a quite wide valley, flat, with a small river, the rests of a glacier moraine. The glacier, we find it at the end of the valley. That’s where we eat, just after Piedra Ibañez.

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Ju at the beginning of Playa Ancha, the mules

Just next to Aconcagua, there is the Cerro Pirámide. This peak is 5700m high, and has a shape of perfect pyramid. It’s near the top that has been found a mummy, dating from the Incas. It was a child, that was sent to bring a message to the gods (who were supposed to live in the altitude). Why a child? Because only the children are pure enough to be allowed to talk with the gods.

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The Cerro Pirámide

In the afternoon, the trail is going up and down, and finally up steeply. This last climb, called Cuesta Brava, is very dusty and slippery! no surprise we see mules bones at the foot. On top of it, we arrive to a small plateau where Plaza de Mulas is located.

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It’s like the image we had of a base camp. Hundreds of tents with shiny colours, on the right the giant Aconcagua, and on the left and in front, mountains with glaciers and scree. After a good rest in the mess tent (common tent), we mount our tents. A wonderful condor, with white head, comes above us, looking for fresh bodies.

For dinner, we have like yesterday, soup, potatoes purée with chicken, and for dessert some flan. When talk quite a lot after dinner, and when we get out, it’s already dark. The scenery is magical, with the sky dark blue, the moon and some stars already bright in it, the top of Aconcagua still pink from the setting Sun, the rest of the mountains in black and white from the rocks and snow. 360º of amazement at -5ºC.

Tuesday 11 February (Day 06)

Today is a rest day, at 4300m, to acclimatize. We get up at 9h30 for breakfast. Then, we go with Mona and Memo to walk near the Glaciar Superior de Horcones. The ice has very strange shape: some peaks of a few meters high, standing, like a crowd. They are the Penitentes (penitents). At some point, there is also a river, running through these peaks, of brown colour due to all the mud carried. And most of the glacier is covered by earth and stone, giving it a dirty brown colour.

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After lunch (rice with beef and tomato sauce), we have some rest. The main activity of the day is to drink, in order to acclimatize, and of course go to the toilets. At the end of the afternoon, we go for another medical check. Mick: 87% saturation of O2, heartbeat of 92, 120/70 for pressure. Ju: 90% saturation of O2, heartbeat of 95 and 90/60 for pressure. It’s ok. Advice from the doctor: drink, drink, drink!

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In the mess tent, Plaza de Mulas from above

We go to prepare the food we’ll bring tomorrow to Plaza Canada, for the days we’ll climb, in 4-5 days. For dinner, after the traditional soup, we have a pastel de carne con papas: a thin layer of crunchy skin, then a layer of smashed meat and on top a layer of purée. That’s very good. In the evening, we go to have some mate with the guides, in their tent.

Here are the videos of today:

Wednesday 12 February (Day 07)

Breakfast at 8h30. Today, we go to Plaza Canada (5000m) to leave the food for when we’ll go to the summit. In order to be used to them, we wear the big plastic boots. The way up is quite steep, with earth and many loose stones. The guides set up a pace that is slow, but this way we do not get tired. After 3 hours, we arrive to Plaza Canada. There is one tent, and several places with bags under rocks. In fact, the place is rather small. It’s an area a little flatter, behind some rocks. I wonder how can 20 tents fit here. It’s also a little windy, so we’re happy to have brought some warm clothes.

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We have lunch enjoying the view on the surrounding mountains: Aconcagua, cerro Manso, cerro Cuerno, cerro Brasil, cerro Horcones, Pan de Azucar, cerro Catedral, Bonete, los Dedos, and a little further Huacan and el Plomo. On the way down, the little rocks roll under our boots, making the walk look like skiing or skating. It’s very funny.

We arrive at the basecamp at 15h, much earlier than expected. The utmost pleasure is to remove the boots when we finally are at the tents.

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We spend the rest of the afternoon resting. We are lucky to meet Ryszard Pawlowski, a legend in Poland for Himalaya ascents. For dinner, we have a soup, and then pork ribs on barbecue with cabbage. The temperatures have decreased a lot tonight. We go to sleep around 22h.

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Resting in the Sun, us with Ryszard Pawlowski

A small video, for Gagou:

Thursday 13 February (Day 08)

We get up like yesterday, for breakfast at 8h30, and leave at 10h. We have breakfast the latest possible, because although it’s clear from 7h, the Sun does not reach the camp site before 9h30. Today, we go to Bonete. It’s the same altitude as Plaza Canada (around 5000m), but on the other side of the camp. The approach is quite long, we have to go down to the river, to go up again to the former hotel. Then we walk up in the scree. A lot of zigzags to go up, and a straight line to go down, skating. During the last half an hour, we wear the helmets, and progress in a very steep environment of big rocks and loosen stones. Imagine crawling up at 5000m!

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We arrive at a small platform, at the top, where we have lunch enjoying the view. We clearly see all the way points until Plaza Canada (Camp I at 5000m), and Nido de Condores (camp II at 5400m).

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For the way down, we avoid the nearly climbing part we did at the end, to go straight in the scree. We have to be very careful, to both our movements, in order not to make big stones roll, and to others above us, who may make stones roll down to us.

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Mick enjoying the descent, hiding in the Penitentes

On the way back to the camp, it starts to snow. We should have snowfalls for the next three days. It’s a good news! Because the last part of the climb to the summit, at around 6700m, we should progress in the scree. And if there is snow, then we can go up with crampons, and without the stones rolling us down.

For dinner, we have soup, and fried chicken with purée. After eating, Mariano tells us several stories that happened in his previous expeditions. He also tells us the records for Aconcagua. From Plaza de Mulas to the summit, a French team used 3h50 and 1h15 to come back. And from the bottom of Horcones valley (where we started walking several days ago), the record is about 16h for going up and back. He also explains us the effect of the altitude depends on the latitude. Due to the non sphericity of the Earth, climbing at 6000m is much tougher for our body here in Argentina, than in Nepal or Equator, that are closer to the equator, due to the scarcity of oxygen. Here in Aconcagua above 5500m, it is impossible to acclimatize, we only lose energy. We go to sleep after this precious information, enjoying our tent and warm sleeping bag in this cold night.

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The Camp at night, under moonlight. Note the Southern Cross on the right!

Friday 14 February (Day 09)

Today is a rest day. We get up at 9h15 for breakfast. In the morning, the weather is quite clear. We say goodbye to one group leaving for the summit (the Mexicans!). Finally, the helicopter can fly and comes to pick up Ayesha. She was feeling with no strength for several days and waiting desperately to go home. It starts to snow around noon.

For lunch, we have soup and pizza, very good. Mariano explains us how we are going to move in the altitude. He also checks that we know how to put the crampons on the plastic boots, because we’ll need them, at least for the summit day. The snow continues during the whole afternoon, covering the basecamp and the surrounding mountains with a white layer of a few centimetres deep. We spend some time in the tent of the guides playing chess.

For dinner, we have soup and couscous with tomato sauce. At the end of the meal, Mariano explains us the rules and advice for the summit day: on that day, we should start walking at 5h30. And we cannot be late, because waiting outside would mean to lose a toe within a dozen of minutes. Up to now, we still don0t know if we start tomorrow or the day after tomorrow! it’ll depend on the weather tomorrow morning, and if it is still snowing, we’ll wait (because it’d be very fastidious to build the tent in half a metre of snow). Before going to the bed, we remove the snow of our tent (for faster drying), and around the tent (so that the poles are not taken by the ice tomorrow morning). We go to sleep around 22h, the snow seems to have stopped but it’s still very cloudy.

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The camp after the snowfall

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The toilets in Plaza de Mulas are particularly dirty

Here is the video of today:

Saturday 15 February (Day 10)

We get up at 8h30 for breakfast. Today we begin the final part of our ascent. If the weather allows us, we will reach the summit in 3 days. Tonight, we’ll sleep in Plaza Canada (Camp I), at around 5000m. The atmosphere during the breakfast is very silent, everyone is probably assessing the toughness of the days to come. The base camp is recovered by snow, and after a rest during the night, it’s starting to snow again. We dismount the tents, and leave base camp around 11h. It’s now over for the little comfort we still had.

The way to Plaza Canada has been recovered by the snow. It’s snowing during the whole ascent, sometimes with strong winds, like a snowstorm. The temperature is cold, maybe -5ºC. So the breaks are short, and not very welcome. The pace is very slow, so that we don’t get tired, but it prevents us from getting warm. The walk to Camp I is a never-ending succession of zigzags. It takes us 4h to arrive, but it seems much more with this weather.

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When we arrive, we mount our tent (all the others paid to have their tent mounted). It’s harsh in the snowstorm, especially for the hands, but at least we do some exercise and the rest of the body is warm. Once we finish, we clean the inside of the tent, that had received much snow from the bags and during the mounting. We spend the rest of the afternoon talking with Mona and Sara, in their tent. We go to sleep after dinner at 21h30.

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Our camp in Plaza Canada

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In the tent of Mona and Sara, brushing teeth in the tent

Here, in the altitude camp, for our natural needs, there is Margarita (name of the toilets tent): first ensure you have done number one (urinated) before going in the toilets tent. Then, in the tent, you have all the comfort: protected from the wind and snow, with a newspaper (not to read, but to place under you, to retrieve your masterpiece), toilet paper, hand sanitizer… you have to pee first in order not to destroy the newspaper.

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A glimpse inside Margarita

Here is today’s video, to share our conditions:

Sunday 16 February (Day 11)

We get up at 9h. The night has been very cold, with some snowstorm at the beginning and then a lot of wind. The canopy of the tent is all frozen. And the plastic boots, that we had taken inside, are still full of snow. Nothing has melted, so the temperature in the tent has been negative the whole night. After breakfast, we pack up everything and dismount the tent.

We start walking around 11h towards Nido de Condores, our Camp II, at 5400m. The bag seems much heavier today. And Soldado is putting a rhythm quite high. After a sleepless night and some problem with her nose, Anna Marya decides to go back to Plaza de Mulas to consult a doctor. The first hit of the day is called Piedras 5000. We reach it after one hour. That’s where Joseph decides also to go down. We have lunch at Cambio de Pendientes, half way to Camp II. In the end of the climb, the pauses are coming more often. Today, the weather has been perfect, but the walk has been very harsh, at the limit for most of us.

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En route for Nido de COndores, with Plaza Canada in the back

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We arrive at Nido de Condores around 16h15. Both of us have to mount the tent, since we did not pay for this service. But first, we use the shovel t remove the snow. It takes us 1h15 to prepare the place and mount the tent, and we are totally destroyed at the end: headache, maybe some fever, nausea.

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We have dinner at 19h30 and, after a magnificient sunset, we go to sleep, hoping the cold and the altitude will allow us a few hours of rest.

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Our camp in Nido de Condores, sunset, Margarita

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The view from Margarita, the Sun disappearing in the Pacific Ocean

And a video of today:

Monday 17 February (Day 12)

We have breakfast at 9h. We leave at 11h30 after dismounting the tent. Once again, it’s very tough to dismount the tent at this altitude.

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The pee bottle after the night (when the temperature is -10ºC, you don’t want to go out of the tent at night)

Our destination is Camp III, Colera, at nearly 6000m. It’s quite close, it should take us 3-4 hours to arrive. We make zigzags in the snowy slope, at a pace that would seem slow in the valley, but here it nearly puts us out of breath.

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After some 2h30 of walk, Mariano announces us the news: the porters are on strike. It means that they won’t carry our tents, food, ! to Colera. So now, we face the following dilemma: continue to Colera and starve and sleep outside by -20ºC, or go down to Nido de Condores. Of course we choose to go down. We put on the crampons for the way down. We arrive in Camp II around 16h, thank God, the porters have built our tent. We are all under shock, without motivation, waiting for more news.

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Even the landscape becomes sad, in black and white

Here is the reason of the strike: Aymara receives money from the customers in US$, but pays the porters in Argentinian Pesos (AR$). As you know, the official rate and the real rate of the peso are very different. The unformal agreement was that as long as 1US$ was lower than 8AR$, the rate for the porters would be 1US$ = 10 AR$ (remember that we had 12,2 AR$ in Buenos Aires). And if it was more than 8 AR$, they would renegociate. Since 3-4 weeks ago, 1 US$ passed above 8AR$. Two weeks ago, the porters started to contact Aymara. But no answer. Finally, today, under the insistence of the porters, the direction of Aymara answered them that if they were not happy, they could go down. So here is the result, they are on strike, because they don’t have other choice. And the porters came to apologize to us for the situation.

We have dinner in our camp, and after this, the guides tell us the evolution of the situation- Apparently, it’s solved, and we’ll go tomorrow to Colera. So let’s take today as a day we spent for acclimatization.

Tuesday 18 February (Day 13)

We get up at 8h30 for the breakfast. We had a good night, but it was cold. So we are going to climb to Colera, our Camp III today, at 5900m. Karl tells us that he has decided to go down today. Jurgen is still hesitating. He’s going down, coming up with us! Finally, he decides to go down. So we are only 6 left: Sara, Mona, Sylwia, Julia, Mick and Ju.

We will climb with crampons today, because with the cold, the snow has hardened. We take the same way as yesterday. It looks a little easier at the beginning, maybe because we are better acclimatized. But it gets tougher and tougher with the altitude. You have a strong headache, concentrate on your breath, slowly and deeply, and ask you brain to follow blindly the one in front of you. Every movement a little brusk will make you out of breath and double your headache.

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Chobi working as a porter

Finally, we arrive to the camp Berlin, and after half an hour of horizontal transverse and a rocky passage, we arrive to Colera. There are around 30 tents here. It’s so good to have arrived. And thank God, we paid for them to mount our tent. After one hour resting in the tent, we feel better. But it is so hard to go out again for hot water, or the dinner.

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The boots, after one hour under the protection of the abside. From now on, always take the shoes inside the tent!

After dinner, we get dressed for tomorrow: we wear all the layers of clothes we can. And then we go to bed in our tent looking like a fridge, with snow everywhere. And the constant gusts of wind make some snow fall at every moment (this snow is the water we expel, when breathing out, that became ice on the walls of the tent).

The video of the day:

Wednesday 19 February (Day 14)

We get up at 4h for the breakfast. As expected, we nearly did not sleep during the night, maybe half an hour each. But we do not feel any headache! maybe the excitation of the summit day. We rush to eat our breakfast and put on our shoes (with crampons), because Mariano had told us that if we are 10 minutes late, we won’t go: if the rest of the group has to wait 10 minutes by this cold, there is a risk to lose a toe or a finger.

We start walking at 5h40, among a line of some 60 andinists with headlight. It’s impressive to be part of this procession! The pace is a little higher than the previous day. The guides had told us that for the summit day, they would take the slowest pace in order to arrive to the summit before 3-4! and if we cannot follow, they we should go back to the tent.

We arrive in Piedras Blancas (about 6200m) exactly when the Sun, totally red, is rising.

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After a pause here, we continue until the ex-refugee Independencia. In fact, it’s more like an abandoned, triangular-shaped shelter. The pace is still a little higher. It’s around here that Sara and Julia decide to go down. We have a long break here, at 6400m.

The next phase is the Travesía, a long transversal walk on the steep slope of the mountain, to join the last part, the Canaleta. We wear the ski goggles (above the sunglasses) for this part since it’s windy and projects snow to our face. The traverse is made even longer by the fresh snow (30-40cm that fell in the last days).

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As we are the first ones to climb Aconcagua today, the guide, in front of us, has to make the footprints. The rhythm is high, and hard to follow due to the snow. We arrive at the bottom of Canaleta at 12h15. But why do we rush so much? Because there is still some three hours to go to arrive to the top, and after this, there is the long and quite dangerous descent.

After a break of half an hour, we start the Canaleta. Both of us, we are absolutely not in condition for this. We are very sleepy (for not having slept last night), and also tired and out of breath. But we somehow managed to bluff, so that our guide trusts we can do it. Mariano convinced Mona and Sylwia to go back, at the start of the Canaleta. So, in the end, we are only the two of us, and the guide, from our original group, to enter the Canaleta. It’s a very steep slope we follow up during 150m (one hour!). Today, it’s covered with snow, which helps, because otherwise, it would be loosen rocks. But each step up is like climbing stairs (remember, at nearly 7000m high), and many times, the snow under our foot collapses, and we go down 20 more centimetres. The rhythm of the people in front of us is too high to be followed. But luckily, Mariano is cheering us up. And we need it. We are like zombies: fighting not to fall asleep or even close the eyes, following the shoes in front of you, trying to stay stable (or if feel like falling, do it on the mountain side!), and of course, after two or three steps, we have to stop to get back our breath. The Canaleta and the final ascent to the summit take us 2h30. Mariano had told us that we should keep 50% of strength for the descent. In fact, we did not have enough strength even for the ascent. Only the mental pushed us to continue. No idea how we will do for the descent.

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Resting in the Canaleta, Ju with the South Summit of Aconcagua (6930m) behind

We finally arrive to the summit, it’s a liberation. The summit is like a small plateau, of 20-30m diameter, with a little cross full of flags in the middle. The landscape all around is fantastic, with so many snowy mountains. The people arriving on top congratulate each other, take pictures together even if they never met before. We are at maximum some 30 people, and that’s a lot, probably because today the weather is ideal (little wind).

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We also take some pictures, videos, eat, drink something, and it’s time to go down. We feel less sleepy, from the euphoria of the summit, but still out of breath and with some dizziness coming from the altitude. The crampons are helping a lot on the way down, and luckily for us, we are quite trained to go down everywhere in the mountains, so even in our bad condition, we are somehow safe.

The Canaleta and the Travesía are the two most dangerous parts because if you step outside the way, you may slip on the snow down several hundred meters. We see several people roped to their guide, or sitting having a very bad time.

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The second half of the descent is easier, but in our state of tiredness, every step is a considerable effort. For most of the descent, we have mild snowfall, but no strong wind.

We arrive to Colera camp around 19h, 13h30 after we started.

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Everyone else from our expedition comes to hug us and congratulate us. It feels so good! But we want only one thing: sleep! After a quick dinner, we finally lie down.

Here are the images:

Thursday 20 February (Day 15)

We sleep well the first half of the night. But from 2h30, the strong winds feared by Mariano arrive. They make so much noise that it is impossible to fall asleep again. And at every gust, some snow falls down on us. It looks like the mountain wants to remind us that we are still at 5900m high, and she is the strongest. The temperature inside the tent is probably around -5ºC, since our bottles get frozen. It’s a liberation when the guides call us for the hot water, at 9.

Today the weather is clear, with strong winds and many gusts. And the wind projects the snow up to our face.

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We start going down at 10h30. The beginning is very harsh, but as we go down, the wind is not so strong. Every one looks pretty tired. Our common dream is a hot shower and a correct bed: it’ll be for tomorrow night in Mendoza.

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We arrive at Plaza de Mulas at 14h30, after a fastidious walk down, with some minor falls. Anna Marya and Joseph welcome us warmly and we go to eat: Coke and home made hamburgers! In the rest of the afternoon, we just relax, take care of our things, enjoy being back to a minimum of comfort. For dinner, we have roasted pork with purée. And we go to sleep, for our last night in the mountain.

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The highest art gallery of the world, in Plaza de Mulas

Friday 21 February (Day 16)

We get up at 8h for breakfast. What a surprise! We slept the whole night in a row, and there is no ice on the walls of the tent! Although the toilets here are still as dirty as before, it’s great to have back some comfort. We dismount one last time the tent, and go down, saying goodbye to all the people we met here.

We start with the Cuesta Brava, that seems so easy now. We have a short lunch break at the same place as when we came, in ! (do you remember?) !Piedra Ibañez.

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We then cross the Playa Ancha, a huge flat valley left by the moraine of a glacier. We have a strong back wind pushing us.

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In Confluencia, where we spent two nights, we have a small fruity snack. Two more hours of walking and we have arrived at the entrance of the park, where we started walking two weeks ago.

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We are exhausted, and everyone has a nap in the minibus bringing us back to Mendoza. We arrive at the NH hotel around 22h. After a nice dinner, with French fires, salad, ! (well, many things we missed in the mountains), we have a good night of sleep.

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Saturday 22 February

After a wonderful (but too short) night in a real bed, we have a long-awaited breakfast buffet of cereals, fruits, croissants, juice, cakes, ! In the morning, we return all the gears we had rented, and check out from the hotel. We go to Estela’s house, in the suburbs of Mendoza. We are directly invited for lunch by Hans, Federico’s brother. He has prepared a Chilean dish, Chupe de Mariscos, that is absolutely divine!

In the afternoon, we organize our things, and finally talk with our family. In the evening, we go all the group who went to Aconcagua to a typical Argentinian restaurant: Patio Jesús y María. It’s a grill restaurant, with the possibility of enjoying the various pieces of beef: bife, costilla, riñón, intestinos, tiras, lomo, ! After dinner, we go to the bar Antares, where we try many kinds of beers, and then rip through the sleeping city with our bikes back to the house.

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