Next up: Aconcagua

My 7-years schedule requires me to keep the pace with climbing. Certainly after my initial failure on Denali, which caused a delay of one year. But, I am very happy to tell you my next expedition is planned!

On 1 February 2019, I will start climbing Aconcagua! Let’s try and get to the top of the Americas!

Aconcagua, the highest of the Americas

But not the normal route

Most climbers wanting to climb the mountain will use the normal route to get to the summit. This is an easy, non-technical climb that does not require rope, crampons or any other climbing hardware. However, Aconcagua is still almost 7000 meters high and should not be underestimated. These two factors, relatively easy climb but high altitude, cause a low summit percentage and the high number of accidents. Estimates are that only 30 to 40% of all climbers reach the summit successfully.

Since I am looking to a climb that is a little more challenging, I will not take this route.

Not the Polish Traverse either

The second most climbed route on Aconcagua is the so-called Polish Traverse. With this route, you approach Aconcagua from the east through the Vacas Valley. Once you reach the mountain, the route joins the normal route just below summit. During this traverse to the normal route, you climb just below the Polish Glacier, hence the name. The advantage of this route is that it is a little longer than the normal route, allowing you the acclimatize more. And this route is a little less crowded than the normal route, but still non-technical.

I will follow the Polish Traverse route for a while, but not all the way…

Where is all starts…

So how will I climb exactly?

I will head to the bottom of Aconcagua via the Vacas Valley and will start my climb using the Polish Traverse Route. However, at the bottom of the Polish Glacier, I will head for the summit directly, and not follow the traverse to the normal route.

This route is called the Polish Direct Route and offers a nice ice climb up to 55 degrees steep. Besides the steepness we will encounter section with huge crevasses where we will have to find a way to pass. The crux of this route is at 6700m, where we need to climb a steep, but short, rock band. Given the altitude, this might just be pretty challenging!

After the rock band there is not much left that can stop us from summiting!

In red: The Polish Direct route. In blue: The Polish Traverse

But, my choice for the Polish Polish Direct route also allows flexibility. I will join a group that will climb the Polish Traverse, and can always decide to stay with them, instead of going for the steep Polish Glacier. Weather on Aconcagua or bad route conditions may force me to do so!

Let’s start preparing

While planning this expedition, I have already started to intensify my training sessions. I have fully recovered from my Denali climb and enjoy working on my fitness again. I know good preparation is key when trying to increase chances of reaching the summit. And I will do everything I can to get to that summit!