About Vacas Valley Approach:
The Vacas Valley approach is used for reaching the Polish Glacier, the False Polish Glacier, the East Glacier, and any route on Mercedario. It is the longest of the three approaches and generally takes 2-3 days.
From Punta de Vaca, head back towards Mendoza for 1 Km, and turn left onto a signed dirt road. A 4 hour hike reaches La Lena, a park entrance station where permits are checked and garbage bags are issued. Most parties spend the night here, but continuing on to Casa Piedra is a relatively easy day and recommended.
From La Lena, hike up the valley for about 20 minutes to a bridge over the Vacas River. Cross the bridge, and hike to a nice meadow before reaching Casa Piedra where the Relinchos Valley and Aconcagua are visible. This hike is slightly longer than the first day and takes about 4 hours as well. It is not necessary or recommended to go all the way to Casa Piedra as the meadow has nicer campsites.
Begin day 3 by wading the Vacas River just upstream from where the Relinchos River joins it. Hike steeply up the Relinchos Valley, and cross the Relinchos River once before climbing into a big hanging valley. Follow the valley to the glacial moraine and Aconcagua basecamp. This hike is much harder than the previous days, and takes about 6 hours.
River crossings in the Relinchos Valley are different from year to year - this information is current as of January 2003.
Basecamp is like a small city complete with a park station where you must check in, a permanent doctor, crude restaurants(lame), porter services(lamer), and outhouses(thank god).
|Type of Climbing:||Alpine|