Monday, March 2, 2015

Aconcagua or Bust

Before starting this trip the one thing I was very excited about was seeing Mount Aconcagua... more than Machu Pichu.  I knew I would not be able to hike it though because it takes up to 21 days with acclimitazation and costs roughly $2000 for a permit, not including donkeys and gear.  That being said I needed to lay my eyes upon this beast.  At roughly 7000m tall it is over 3km higher than Mount Robson (the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies).  And only less than 2000m shorter than Everest.  It is the tallest mountain in the Americas and also the tallest mountain not in the Himalayas.  My adventure started when I left Valpraiso for Los Andes in Chile.

In Los Andes I found a nice hotel named Arunco.  I told the owner Patricio my plan to make camping near Aconcagua and he was intrigued.  There was no free rooms in his hotel, but he was very nice and let me sleep on a spare bed in a room that they usually dont rent out... for free.

From Los Andes I hitchiked to the frontier of Argentina (in the picture above following the arrow to Mendoza).  It took three different rides from three different truckers and they dropped me off in a small town called Horcones just barely in Argentina.  From here I was close to the mountain.
Me waiting for a ride at the Argentinian border.
Horcones was a small town with not a lot to do and very boring.  But i had to rent a hostel here for a night.  Hostel Nico is 150 pesos and offers great breakfast.
The markets in Horcones attract drivers making the haul from Valpraiso to Mendoza and vice versa.
Street dog lounges.
This natural sulphuric bridges has been used since the time of the Incas.  A British company did build a hotel here in 1905 and you can see the remnants.  The hotel was destroyed by a rock slide in the 1960's and abandoned.  This is also a tourist site in Horcones.

The town of Horcones itself is at 3000m and some of the regular mountains nearby are beheamoths too.  This one isnt even Aconcagua.
This one is Aconcagua!  Every morning in summer you can see it clearly but by afternoon it starts to get cloudy.
I made it.  Its difficult to deal with the bureacracy of getting into Aconcagua when coming from Chile.  First you have to do your paperwork for leaving Chile.  Then about a 100km later you have to do your paperwork for entering Argentina.  Then you have to turn around 3km and go backwards to the park entrance to Aconcagua.

What a fucking beast man!!!
So big I cant believe my eyes.

And other beautiful greenery and lagunes nearby.  This laguna is called Laguna Horcones.  For 20 pesos you can go here for the day and walk around and explore.  If you want to make Camping for 1-3 days it will cost you 200 dollars American.  Because its late in the vacation and I have lack of funds I chose the first option.

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