Eating and hydrating well before trekking or climbing is a must. Mules bring the food up and the rubbish down, they work hard but get plenty of rest after working a day and during the year. Confluencia’s water comes through a long plastic pipe from a glacier up the mountain, providing drinkable icy water suitable for cooking and cleaning. The toilets are a bit of a hassle to reach during cold dark nights. Local plants are sweet and tough, and you can find Jurassic period ammonites fossils inside the stones scattered around.
Each visitor to the Aconcagua National Park is given a plastic bag to bring its own rubbish back down to preserve the site, and there is a penalty in place for those who breach this agreement.
Living at 11,200 feet above sea level in the Andes is a fantastic and unique experience. The community spirit, the ever-changing landscapes, the extreme weather, the friendly birds, the millions of stars at night, and the fact that there is no Wi-Fi or mobile signal will allow you to finally find peace.
But just be warned, your skin will get extremely dry and tight, and temperatures can reach below freezing — it isn’t rare to get AMS, pulmonary edema or even die from the cold if you are ill-prepared. But all these difficulties are what makes reaching the the summit a wonderful dream to achieve.
Photo © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat