Aconcagua: Mallory & Team Checking in from Plaza de Mulas

Posted by: Linden Mallory | December 15, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua

Buenas tardes from Plaza de Mulas, the Base Camp on Aconcagua’s western side! Plaza de Mulas sits on a big rocky glacial moraine, near the eastern side of the amphitheater that makes up the head of the main Horocones Valley. Sharp summits surround us in every direction, the deep red color of the mountains here occasionally interested with striations of yellow and grey. Most of the peaks still hold snow from last winter snowpack and fields of penitentes - sharp snow spires that form from the intense sun - are emerging in the snow patches that still reside in the shallow gullies running alongside Base Camp. The panorama is framed by the massive cliff of glacial ice of Horocones Superior to our north and the hulk of Aconcagua rising immediately out of camp to our east. From this low on the mountain the majority of our route is obscured from view by the scree covered flanks running into camp, but far above us the steep cliffs that guard Aconcagua’s twin northern and southern summits occasionally emerge from the clouds. Despite the relatively non-technical nature of this route, we still found ourselves craning our necks to look up at the mountain from Camp.

After reaching camp we quickly set up our tents and unloaded our gear that came in by mule. It was a relief to see that our gear made it unscathed after bouncing up the valley on the back of what seemed to be semi-tamed mules (whatever you do, don’t stand in the trail and play chicken with an oncoming mule train!). With our camp established we explored around camp a bit before settling into our tents for some R&R right as the afternoon clouds spit a few sporadic snowflakes down on us.

The team is doing well and we are all very happy to be up high, finally eyeing the route above us and contemplating the next few days. If weather and acclimatization hold strong, we hope to carry a portion of our gear and supplies needed for the upper mountain to Camp 1 tomorrow. The sun is just starting to sink behind the ridge lines that separate us from Chile and the temperatures are getting chilly as we head off to dinner. We’ll check in tomorrow after our day.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

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Sounds breathtaking.  Keep it up, glad the equipment arrived intact!

Posted by: Nanook on 12/16/2013 at 7:57 am

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