FATMAP difficulty grade
## Presentation The easiest route to reach the highest peak in the Americas and the highest peak in the world outside the Himalayas. The route goes out on the highest peak in South America at almost 7000 m, a good acclimatisation is mandatory for those who want to reach the summit.
There is no significant objective danger on the route but the weather can change abruptly, from very beautiful to very bad. ## Approach #### General information To go up the Horcones valley, you will need 2 days of walking on a well marked and quite busy trail in season. An organized and paid service with mules can be taken to transport the equipment from Puente del Inca or Penitentes, to the base camp of [[waypoints/132259|Plaza de Mulas] at 4365 m (60 kg max per mule).
It is strongly recommended to check with the various agencies in Mendoza to find the best rates and services. #### Day 1: Horcones (2850 m) --> [[waypoints/134685|Confluencia]] (3400 m) It is at the entrance of the park in Horcones (at the end of the small asphalt road) that you will make your first "check-in".
(control of permits etc.).
Once the formalities have been completed, follow the path that leads to the Laguna Horcones and Confluencia towards the N.
If you are autonomous, do not hesitate to continue further until "Playa Ancha"".
(a wide and especially long area of gravel, flat, along the stream) for your first camp on the approach.
Be careful, for several seasons, bivouacs outside the "official" camps have no longer been allowed.
Sleeping in Playa Ancha or Ibanez is therefore not possible.
However, it is possible to transport some of the material higher and place it""in a safe place"" in order to limit excessive portages between Confluencia and Plaza de Mulas.
Count 3-4 hours. #### Day 2: Confluencia (3400 m) --> Plaza de Mulas (4365 m) Continue on the path towards the N (do not go up the valley of Horcones inferior towards Plaza Francia (at the foot of the S side of the Aconcagua).
You will first pass through the old Plaza de Mulas camp before starting a slightly steeper climb to the new camp.
Plaza de Mulas is a real city: tents and park warden huts with mandatory check-in.
The mules don't go any further.
Count 7-8 hours (Warning: up to 10-11 hours if you are in total autonomy, with a load of 30-35 kg). ## Ascension Most of the contenders for the summit do the ascent in three stages, not to mention the portages and other days of rest that may be necessary to acclimatize.
The classic itinerary is described below but many other intermediate camps are possible. #### Plaza de Mulas (4365 m) --> [[waypoints/132915|Nido de Cóndores]] (5450 m) Follow the path that winds up the steep slope that dominates Plaza de Mulas to the E.
Pass the[waypoints/132914|Cerro Manso]] (5434 m) where the slope softens and reaches the camp. Big day (and often the first one with a big bag - thanks mules!! Carrying can be done in two days, with an acclimatisation walk for example).
Allow 5 to 7 hours (depending on your charge).
This section can be divided in two by sleeping at Camp Canada around 4950 m (before the change of slope, be careful not to have water or snow at the end of the season, check) or Camp Alaska (approx.
5250 m) at the foot of the Manso. #### Nido de Cóndores (5450 m) --> Colera (5980 m) Continue on the well-tracked path to reach Camp Colera, which is reached by a short rocky passage equipped with cables (a step of II).
The camp is equipped with Mess tents in season, you will not be alone! Count 4-6 hours. It is also possible to sleep in Berlin (5930 m), but the camp is less and less used and the number of places is very limited.
3 wooden huts are present on this camp, but are often filled with snow, preventing their use. #### Colera (5980 m) --> Peak (6962 m) --> Berlin The biggest day whose difficulties are increasing due to the altitude and the famous "canaleta".
(a long and steep rocky outcrop) that leads to the summit ridge. After passing through the ruins of the Independencia refuge, the "Great Crossing" begins, which leads to the Canaleta by a gradual ascent.
It is generally towards Independencia that crampons are worn at the beginning of the season. La Canaleta is a series of stony and short snowy days that may require some vigilance (especially with fatigue).
Without being difficult, this section concentrates the major difficulties of the ascent with fairly steep slopes (up to 45°). Allow 8 to 12 hours for the summit (and often 2 to 3 hours only for the Canaleta...or more!) Go down the same path again. ## Descent From Colera, go to Plaza de Mulas (3 hours) and from there to the entrance of the park in Horcones (1 day).<br/><br/>_This Adventure has been shared under the [Creative Commons Share Alike](https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/) licence._