Partners needed > Aconcagua

Looking for partners for Aconcagua late fall/winter/early spring 2009 ascent

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Hey guys Just wondering if there is any extreme cold weather alpinist that I could tag along with or join me between June & October 2009.  I'm pretty flexible since I'm based out of Argentina and 10 of the highest peaks in the Americas are also in the Andes.  This will be an unassisted minimalist alpine ascent using only map, compass, & GPS.  Ultimately I would like to complete the Polish trail within a week or less, bearing the weather conditions.  If not, I will be doing the normal route solo. ETA after checking the trail map, bearing good weather conditions on the normal route from Puente de Inca would be 3-4 days, depending on acclimatization & weather conditions. 

Here is my itinerary for the normal route:

Day 1
From Destacamento de  Guardaparque Horcones (park entrance) 2980m to Confluencia 3350m = 4 hours
From Confluencia 3350m to Piedra Grande o Colorada 3560m =2 hours
From Piedra Grande o Colorada 3560m to Piedra Ibanez 3780m = 6-9 hours

Day 2
From Piedra Ibanez 3780m to Plaza de Mulas 4400m 5-6 hours
From Plaza de Mulas 4400m to Campamento Plaza Canada 5080m = 4 hours up 2 hours down
From Campamento Plaza Canada 5080m to Nino de Condores 5590m = 5 hours up 2 hours down

Day 3
From Nino de Condores 5590m to Camp Berlin 5930m 4 hours up 2 hours down
From Camp Berlin 5930m to the northern summit 6959m 8-11 hours up 5 hours down.
Reverse everything on the way back and will be faster.

My itinerary for the Polish Trail From Punta de Vacas to the northern summit & back by Puente de Inca by normal route

Day 1
From Punta de Vacas 2406m to Refugio Pampa de Leņas 2960m = 6 hours up, 5 down
From Refugio Pampa de Leņas 2960m to Casa de Piedra 3245m = 7 hours

Day 2
From Casa de Piedra to Plaza Argentina Base Camp 4180m = 6 hours
From Plaza Argentina Base Camp 4180m to Portezuelo Aconcagua Ameghino (passing the 1st Polish camp) 5100m = 6 hours

Day 3
From Portezuelo Aconcagua Ameghino 5100m to Polish Camp 2 5830m 6-7 hours

Day 4
From Polish Camp 2 5830m there are 2 routes to the northern summit 6959m One is 10-14 hours the other is 2 days (be ready to bivy on this one):D
On the return trip, reverse the normal route itinerary.

These are just a modest estimate given by the map. You won't be needing much, just 1/1/2-2  week's worth of food (in case of delays by bad weather), light climbing gear, ice screws, snow pickets (optional preferably deadmans) etc., water filter, a burner to melt snow, be an early riser (3-4 am) and be prepared for -45F/-42C at the summit. :D

The minimum for a group is 3 and preferably in odd numbers and less than 7.  I'm not a big fan of even and big numbers. 

I assume you plan to acclimatize somewhere first? If not, that's a dangerous/improbable schedule... 4 days to the summit? 13 hours each day?  ???

The estimates are very modest, it depends on how fast you move, I usually shave off about 1-1.5 (sometimes 2 depending on the obstacles) hours from the "modest" 5 hour estimates with a 50-60 pound pack.  I'm not a big person (5'7"), so I don't eat much.  I usually travel light with dried food, powdered milk, coffee, chocolates, Tang, etc.  How fast I'll be moving depends on how many obstacles I'll run into.  If there are a lot of rock scrambling involved, it might slow things down a bit, but if technical climbing is involved, then it will be slower (not too much to worry about on this peak), but I generally walk-run through the trails on the ascent and almost literally jogged down on the descent.  I acclimate pretty fast so it's not too big of a deal [so far, up to Mt. Whitney's elevation of 4419.6 meters (14,500 feet, 11 miles trail, normal route, completed in 1 day, 6137 ft. gain from Whitney portal to the summit)], so this is a test to see how far I can push myself and still feel the same as I did when I am at sea level.  The checkpoints will determine whether I have to stop to acclimate or not.  The make it or break it point is 8000 feet (2438.4 m) and I have been way beyond that.  I'm not too worried about the cold, but rather the changing weather conditions that may slow things down where I may have to wait it out for a few days.  As long as I'm constantly moving and hydrated, I'll be sweating like crazy. Ideally, I'd like to bang through the 1st 2 days and worry about the rest after Plaza Argentina (13714 ft) or Plaza de Mulas (14436 ft.), which is at par with Whitney.  13 hours per day is not as bad as you think, especially when you wake up at 3 am and be on the way out at 4 am.  There will be 5-10 minute breaks in between each hour to pee, melt snow, eat a snack, etc.  Set camp between 5-6 and be in bed between 6 and 7.  If I'm ahead of schedule it's possible continue on to the next checkpoint and do a night hike until I get there.

Hi Mike,

this is a dangerous and impossible plan and I recommend against it. Fortunately Aconcagua will stop you before you get too high, but as you plan to be out of season (winter), you will be all alone (assuming nobody will plan to join you, which I hope).

No park rangers, no services, no rescue, so as you will likely end up with HAPE or HACE, frostbite or all of the above, nobody to help you live. Don't confuse a rush up Whitney with a high mountain like Aconcagua. many have done this before you and many of them never returned.


ps: BE worried about the cold. Be very worried about the cold.


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