It’s time. Time to go “arriba”, up.
Matias Cruz, my Argentine friend, who is also a porter, as well as one of the volunteer rescuers during Federico’s accident, is coming with me. We are going with the new co-director of the park, Pablo Portuso.
December 25th: leave Mendoza, Argentina and drive to the entrance of Aconcagua Provincial Park (about 3 hours), Horcones. When we arrive we must check in even though we have been given permission to enter the park without pay (it is the least the park can do). We will leave the donated equipment there and the helicopter will take it to Plaza de Mulas base camp. From Horcones, we have a 2-3 hour hike to Confluencia (about 11,000ft), the first camp. We will spend the night there to begin acclimatizing.
December 26th: walk to Plaza de Mulas, base camp. It is a 7-9 hour hike to arrive at the approx. 14,000 ft. base camp. We will spend 2-3 days there in order to acclimatize. At base camp, the goal is to inform people of what we are doing and to try and get more help. Since we are going to install new caches and equipment it will take manpower because the helicopter is only able to take the equipment to Nido de Condores.
December 29th: hike to Nido de Condores, the first high camp (approx. 18,000ft.) The first cache is at Nido de Condores, however there is also a SAR base as well as a new post for doctors. Therefore, this cache is useful, but not as important as the higher ones. My goal is to revise the equipment and make sure everything is intact and to replace what is needed.
December 30th: Hopefully, three different expeditions will be organized today. One group of people will go to Refugio Independencia (21,000feet) another to La Cueva (22,000 ft) and another to Campo 3. Again, we want to install a new cache in Campo 3 which will include a Sked, oxygen, a stove, a splinter kit and emergency blankets and sleeping bags.
The distribution of the rest of the gear will be decided.
December 31st: to Plaza de Mulas to rest
January 1st: return to Mendoza and to a new beginning, but to continue maintaining what has been accomplished with this project.