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Aconcagua

Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:15 pm
by mjs
I was wondering if anybody has climbed Aconcagua before? I have the opportunity to go for the summit in December (the route is considered non-technical; and although it crosses the Polish Glacier, supposedly doesn't require previous ice climbing skills), and am trying to find out a bit more on the following:

- Gear requirements (more specifically clothing / cold weather gear requirements - I know I will need crampons, double soled boots, and a seriously good sleeping bag etc)

- The range and quality of gear available in Mendoza? It looks way cheaper to buy or rent stuff there than to purchase here.

- Fitness levels; I've heard that it's hard going, with the altitude not making things any easier.

- How easy is it to get to grips with crampons, ice axes etc?

- Getting to Mendoza from Buenos Aires - I was thinking of travelling overland instead of flying. Practical? Safe?

- What it will cost me, everything included. I have the basic expedition costs, park entrance fees, and some average prices for some of the gear; but am unsure how much I'd be looking at in terms of visas, spending money, additional warm weather gear etc.

Any advice would be most welcome!

Re: Aconcagua

Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:40 pm
by elpatogallina
Hi MJS, I haven't climbed Aconcangua, but I am from Argentina and I was there in April this year.

With regards to travelling from Buenos Aires to Mendoza, you can catch a bus and the buses are super luxurious and very safe. It is quite expensive but I'm sure cheaper than a flight.

I know someone that works as a guide on Aconcagua but I don't know if he speaks english. I am happy to ask him the above questions about gear etc on your behalf. If you don't come right let me know.

Sounds like a great thing to do!

Re: Aconcagua

Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:50 pm
by kyle
Hi We did Ac in Jan this year via the Polish Traverse as the Polish Glacier was not in condition.

In terms of gear. It is a very cold mountain. Summit day was around minus 40 with wind chill - seriously cold. So get the best gear you can. Most people used LaSportiva Olympus Mons style boots as opposed to plastics. I heard several people say that plastics were not warm enough.

Fitness - It is much tougher than you think. Its the highest 'walk' up mountain in the world. If you can acclimatise for longer periods of time that is preferable that being hustled up in a group. I think the success rate on Ac last season was something like 1200 summits out of the roughly 4000 permits issued.

The gear in Mendoza is kak... or at least the people who hired gear in our group regretted it. Think 20 people before you abusing it... and its not that cheap. There may be better outfitters though.

I think the flight to BA was something like R6000... We didn't take the bus but generall busses in Argentina are reasonable and very comfortable.

Food is really cheap in Argentina at the supermarket. We got very nice stuff and lots of it for around R4000 for 6 or us for the entire time on the mountain.

At Plaza Argentina a beer will cost you $10 and a hamburger $20 - worth very single cent.

Its a fun experience and that side of the mountain is less crowded and more beautiful.

If you have some time after consider climbing in Arenales which is not too far from Mendoza.

Good luck.

Re: Aconcagua

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:56 pm
by mjs
Chloe, I'll definately make a turn and see what you guys offer.

Thanks for the valuable feedback, Kyle - I'll keep what you said about gear etc. well in mind; fortunately it looks like I have most of the basic equipment like underlayers, jackets etc, so I'll probably be happy to spend the extra bucks buying decent stuff here). As far as I know, I'd also be doing the Polish Traverse, and not the glacier itself. Besides being tough physically, how tricky is the mountain (exposure, terrain, etc)? I've never used crampons & ice axes before, and don't want to end up halfway up the mountain only to discover that I'm in way above my head.......

Mike

Re: Aconcagua

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:21 am
by kyle
The traverse is non-technical. Crampons are easy to get used to. The ice axe is to stop yourself in the event of a trip and accelerating slide (which happened to me on the descent overly fatigued). Many people do not even use ice axes on this route. Some commercial peeps roped up on one or two sections but we did not think it necessary.
Safety on Ac is more about watching the weather and realistically judging your own fatigue. We had one incidence of VERY quick onset of altitude sickness at around 6000m and had to barrel her down the scree slope to camp 1 barely able to walk or talk. Its a big tough mountain and I think often underestimated. But non the less super fun and very beautiful. pm me if you need any more info. Cheers.

Re: Aconcagua

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:32 am
by Hopopjoukop
Hi Mike

Check out our kit-list: https://www.mountainmailorder.co.za/ind ... &catId=241

Mountain Mail Order has been in the biz for quite some time and we have kitted out many expeditions. You are more than welcome to come round for a chat, or even just drop us a mail at: info(at)mountainmailorder(dot)co(dot)za

Cheers

Coenraad

Re: Aconcagua

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:02 am
by wasatchgirl
Hey. My main climbing partner from home did it last year. Happy to put you in touch if you want. If so, drop me a PM.