Thursday, December 5, 2013

Aconcagua 2012 Memories

Aconcagua in November 2012. I had gone on my second attempt at a solo summit, and due to some scheduling issues, late November seemed like the right time to go. Unfortunately the weather thought it would be a really bad time to go. Everything froze up in Confluencia, first camp on the Horcones approach to the normal route. The wind was pretty rough at Plaza de Mulas, the normal route base camp. It snowed and blowed every day I was there. Not sure if the weather was part of the problem, but my health deteriorated, and the Rangers didn't clear me to ascend past base camp and recommended I descend. I hung out for a few days to see what would happen, but the weather was bad enough that the Rangers also declared that no one should go above Camp One at about 16,000'.

Goal Zero Solar Charger and Battery Pack

Holy Snot! Only 79?

Purificup filtration, glacial sediment and ice and all that.

Half Mile visibility seemed about the norm

Water bottle frozen even after spending the night in my -20 bag

Yeah, about that visibility thing

Frozen water barrels at Plaza de Mulas made it tough to get water
I basically ran out of acclimatization time, since the Rangers promised they could open the upper mountain again about 3 days before I had to catch my plane. Take out the day to descend to Puenta Del Incas, a day to travel to Mendoza, and that left me a day to summit. No thanks. I took off for the long haul to Horcones Ranger Station in the blowing drifting snow and lower down gritty sand. I got there after the Ranger Station closed, but some Rangers cleaning up were able to call down for my ride and soon I was in the lodge again.

I did learn a lot about Aconcagua, in spite of not really being able to go past Base Camp this time. Last time I was near Camp One when I twisted my knee outrunning the lightning blast. I figured out a lot about how to use my Goal Zero Solar battery packs to keep my electronics charged and how to keep the water flowing in my Purificup Water Purifier in spite of ice and gritty minerals. Both of these skills were essential for when I successfully climbed Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia [book] and finished the Elbrus Race 2013 [book].

I might be going back in 2014. If so, I'll keep you in the loop.