Day 3 - Confluencia
Today is Saturday January 14th and it all begins! The 6 months worth of training, mental prep and financial prep has materialized. Big day and full of anticipation for sure.
We all woke up early at the Diplomático Hotel as our alarm clocks were supposed to be set to 5am. This meant that unfortunately we didn’t have a good nights sleep (and this became my Achilles heel later when I got sick 2 days after - read Day 4). Since the team dinner was later on Friday Jan 13 at 8pm and I didn’t get to bed until 1am I only slept 4 hours.
We all ate breakfast at 5am and at 5:30am we met in the lobby to load all of our duffel bags into a big van that wood drive them up to the mountain. We had to split our duffel bags into 2 sets: 1 expedition bag would go up to Confluencia on donkeys/mules and the other was set to go up to Plaza De Mulas (base camp). I helped with the bus loading. Anything that we didn’t need we could store at the hotel which was convenient.
At 6am our vans arrived and 20+ of us hopped on the van. We drove from Mendoza to the gate entrance of Parque Provincial Aconcagua. Along the way we had one bathroom break stop at a village called Uspallata. Quick pee and coffee :)
After about 4 hours of driving we arrived at the park entrance. Here we did permit checks with the park rangers and at about 11:47 we prepared to start our hike. Everyone got a boxed lunch and off we go!
Immediately as we got off the bus I could feel the altitude. Fuck! Coming from sea level altitude is no joke! Definitely not acclimatized. We started the hike at an elevation of 2937 meters.
We hiked through the valley of Rio Horcones up to Confluencia at 3418 meters. It took us 3 hours to do the 7km long hike. Including lunch.
When we arrived to camp we all got a big dome tent where we had dinner and a couple briefings and then off we went to another big dome tent where all 17 of us would sleep.
The headaches started from altitude.
It was a tough night… I got no sleep….