Mt Penitentes

Cerro Penitentes



(4351 meters)




The Cerro Penitentes of 4351 mts. (meters above see level), is a good spot to start hiking in heights, and also as training for Aconcagua.


Near the road leading to Puente del Inca and the Aconcagua, the hike presents no major difficulties and the climb can be done in only a few days.


Its name comes from their formations, but not by the ice "penitents" (ice - pinnacles that the wind forms in Aconcagua glaciers), but by its rocky figures. On the top, a huge brownstone "construction"  of vertical lines refer to a monumental Gothic cathedral, and in front, on the lower level, black rocks on a gentle green slope, resemble menhirs (standing stones) grouped as penitent monks coming to the cathedral.




Duration:  3 days


Departure and Arrival: Mendoza




Day 1: Mendoza – Camp arrival


Day 2: Camp - Summit


Day 3: Camp – Return to Mendoza


Check out more pictures at our Photo Gallery!



 The guide and company can modify the schedule of the ascent in accordance with the group’s needs and the climatic conditions. 


DAy 1: MENDOZA -  CAMP arrival 



We start from the “Village of Penitentes” located at 2,600 meters at the foot of the ski resort. We began our trek to 2.5 km from the village (and 3 km before Puente del Inca), with a picturesque abandoned train station parallel to the route. There we will find a precarious suspension bridge over the Cuevas River, where the path starts.


The bridge only holds one person at a time. Thus, starting from 2,650 meters of height, we will go deeper into the “Quebrada de Vargas”*, always following  - in a north-south or southwest - the stream Vargas, which we will have to cross about five times. As the seasons change, so it does the flow of water and the difficulty of these crossings. A pair of poles will help to keep poised to cross the torrent of water with the backpack.


At the beginning we must pass a steep slope on the left. The path through the gorge is very pretty, and a narrowing that occurs in the central part makes it even more picturesque.


After a few hours of walking without slopes that are too steep, we will come to the place chosen for camping: “Grajales shelter” at 3,350 meters. The refuge is a small construction fitting only three people. But being a busy place at certain times of year, we bring communal tents. In case of bad weather and if possible, we may use the shelter to eat.


Sleeping in this area not only serve us for a good rest before ascending the mountain, but also for the acclimatization that our bodies needs. Some people at this height feel some mild symptoms of altitude.



* The Quebrada de Vargas is in itself an interesting destination to explore. This is a typical glacier valley but it closed at end by massif Los Gemelos (the Twins ) which does not allow the direct ascension of these hills.





DAy 2: CAMP - summit



Today we begin the day early, as we expect a long and busy day. From the camp, we already see a more accessible mountain. In the backpack we will carry enough water for almost all day, trail food, and warm garments because the top gets extremely windy, especially when we look at the edge.


We leave the camp and walk away from the stream by climbing a slope of rock and grass, gaining height. The tents now look tiny, and incredible scenery opens before our eyes: the route, the abandoned railway, the “Village of Penitentes”, and the Banderitas and Cruz de Caña peaks. At one point, we see the majestic north face of the Aconcagua, with its cold and imposing south face and summit often hidden in clouds.


Before reaching the summit we will hike across the penitents (pinnacles of ice), which although difficult the hike, they offer up a sight to behold.


We arrived at the SUMMIT at 4,351 meters!!!


From there only remains thousand meters down into two or three hours to the shelter to spend the night.




DAy 3: CAMP - REturn to MENDOZA 


After a comforting breakfast, we break camp, we get our team together and begin the descent to the path where a transport will be waiting to take us back to the city of Mendoza.


included SERVICes


Transport from Mendoza to Penitentes (round trip)

A professional guide and assistant during the entire expedition

Meals during the entire expedition

Altitude tents

Constant VFH communication 


not included SERVICes


Transportation to and from Mendoza city

Personal equipment

Personal medication for individual clients (although we do have a first aid kit)

Any additional cost if the some one decides to leave the expedition early


Telephone communication

Any other service that is not specified in this document



personal EQUIPMENT 



Neoprene pads

High altitude sleeping bag

Hiking boots/ Trekking shoes

Wool or fleece socks- 2 pairs

Polar fleece jacket

Down jacket

Thermal/insulated gloves

Polar tech gloves

Sun hat



Polar tech hat


Ski poles

Thermos (1 liter)

Protector solar

Toilet paper

Lip protection (spf chapstick)


Long underwear or leggings


Hiking pants

Rain Jacket


Sun protection

Tooth brush and tooth paste


Personal documents

Camera (optional)