Today, a team of seven climbers, accompanied by two Mountain Trip guides are headed from the city of Mendoza, Argentina up into the Andes, en route to attempt to climb the tallest mountain in South America – Cerro Aconcagua. At 22,841′ (6961m), Aconcagua is also the tallest peak outside the Himalaya! Over the course of the next two and a half weeks, our climbers will methodically work their way up the mountain, taking time to help their bodies acclimate to the increasingly rarefied air.
Over the last couple of days, the team assembled in the fun and tranquil city of Mendoza, the center of Argentina’s world famous wine country. Today, they are loading up in a private van for the two hour journey into the mountains, where they will spend the night at a ski resort known as Penitentes, a short drive from the trailhead to the Vacas Valley, up which they will hike on Monday. It will take three days for the team to trek about 23 miles to their Base Camp on the east side of the mountain.
Let’s meet the team!
Sam Mangum joins us from Colorado
Kelly Puzak joins us from Washington State
Chad Myhre joins us from Minnesota
David VanWinkle hails from New Mexico
Robert Vladem is also from New Mexico
Michelle Skuba Gray joins us from Louisiana
Our guides for this expedition are Fermin Avila, from El Bolson, Argentina and Fischer Hazen, from Telluride, Colorado. Fermin has climbed the mountain around 40 times, 25 or so with Mountain Trip, making him one of the most respected guides on in the tight knit community of Argentine guides. Fischer has worked with Mountain Trip for over a year, leading many of our local trips near Telluride, CO and also two Denali expeditions this past spring.
The team will call in audio updates on a semi-regular basis, so you can hear of their adventure through their own words, We will edit those posts to help fill in details and post some images, to help you have a better idea of what they are experiencing.
Please note – satellite calls from the big mountains can be very hit or miss. Phones need a relatively clear view of the sky, and when a huge ridge is in the way, calls are often garbled or dropped. If we don’t hear from the team for a day or two, please keep the “No News Is Good News” axiom in mind. Family members looking for the most current update are always welcome to call the Mountain Trip office or shoot us an email, as our administrative staff is here to help support you, so you can continue to support your climber!