Source: Aconcagua: The top of America. Mauricio Fernández. EditionsSummit
The normal Route of the Pioneers
First delivery of the report on the Aconcagua routes. From Horcones to Plaza de Mulas, the approach to the Colossus
It is the best known and most traveled route to reach the top of Aconcagua and is considered in the “Easy” category according to the IFAS graduation scale (French International Adjectival System).
Its starting point is the post of Guardaparques de Horcones (2,950 m) and the base camp is Plaza de Mulas (4,300 m).
This route was opened on January 14, 1897 by Matías Zürbriggen in what constitutes the first absolute ascension to Mount Aconcagua.
The first stretch of approach between Horcones and Confluencia (3,390 m) has 440 meters of unevenness and its trekking takes approximately 4 hours.
The journey after the process in the park ranger post develops through the stream of Horcones passing through the lagoon of the same name. Following the well-marked path you will reach the bridge that crosses the river Horcones (built for the film “7 years in Tibet”). The path continues along the right bank of the river in a gentle and sustained slope up to Confluencia.
It is advisable to stay a day in this camp for acclimatization, in which you can trek to the viewpoint of Plaza Francia (4,000 m) on the day.
At Plaza de Mulas the difference in altitude is 910 meters and it is concluded in 7 to 10 hours of walking. Leaving Confluencia, you cross the lower Horcones River until you reach Playa Ancha, an extensive plain of 10 kms. of alluvial material length with pebbles. After passing the ruins of the Colombia refuge, the Cuesta Brava begins, not very long but very steep, which eventually leads to the camp.
Plaza de Mulas is a true city of tents, with several companies that provide services of shops, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, shower, internet, etc. In Plaza de Mulas, in addition to park rangers there is a medical service and rescue patrol of the Mendoza Police.
Hundreds of mountaineers from all over the world converge every year, meeting in a lost city in the middle of the Andes at more than 4,000 m. Arrieros, campementeros, cooks, park rangers, porters, guides and climbers live for a few days and share meeting nights in that wasteland of the starry sky.
(Next installment: The ascent, first section: From Plaza de Mulas to Berlin and Colera)