Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in South America at 22,837 feet (6960 meters) and is one of the Seven Summits– a series of climbs up the tallest mountain on each continent. A lofty goal for sure, it is not on my bucket list so I was happy with our much shorter hike on Aconcagua today.
Aconcagua Provincial Park lies 3 hours outside of Mendoza along some curvy roads and beautiful mountain scenery. Our goal for today was to climb up to Confluencia basecamp (11,000 ft), the first of 3 camps along the way to the north summit of Aconcagua.
The hike up is measured in hours and it is only supposed to take 3 hours to get to Confluencia and in hiking time which isn’t too bad. However, is was a fairly difficult hike as the rocky uphill sections had the group huffing and puffing. Out of the sixteen members of my hiking group, only one stopped and called it quits.
The views were gorgeous and a lot more scenic than my Kilimanjaro climb a few years ago. But it was very windy a few hours into the hike. Dust was flying everywhere and it looked like a went playing in the mud once we had completed the hike back down.
Once I made it to Confluencia camp, I was more than ready to dig into my lunch and wolfed it down on hop of a hill overlooking camp in less than 5 minutes. A short nap later and we were off as fast as we could to climb down the mountain and get back to the van.
On the way back there was a lot of entertainment in the form of stubborn mules. Mules will climb up and down portions of the mountain carrying supplies to different camps.
The wranglers were trying to get the mules to follow the path in a somewhat orderly manner but there was one mule who kept running away and refused to follow the others. Now it is easy to see where the term stubborn mule comes from! We laughed so hard, the mule may have been putting on a show for us.
The ladies of our Aconcagua hike:
We met a group of climbers who summited Aconcagua 2 days earlier but they were basically a bunch of zombies. No smiles, no jokes, just a few words and they marched on. They may have even been falling asleep as we were talking to them- very possible. They did not look like they were having much fun.
While waiting for other hikers in our group we had our own little rock nap near the bottom. It was a long, tiring day for all!
Today was a fantastic day on my South American adventure. Even if you are not a big hiker you can come to Aconcagua Provincial Park between Mendoza wine tasting days to see Aconcagua Mountain and the scenery without doing any hiking only a short walk.
For the more adventurous travelers you can definitely hike up to Confluencia camp or even just hike to the bridge which is 45 minutes past the gate. Bring layers, sunscreen, and water and have a lot of fun!
Reader Question: What is your hiking preference: through the woods, mountains, or walks in the park?