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Looking at Aconcagua through...
Looking at Aconcagua through a penitente field.


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magellanSweet shot


Hasn't voted

I've always wanted to see penitente or sastrugi up close.
Posted Jan 24, 2006 12:01 am

AndinistalocoRe: Sweet shot


Hasn't voted

Hey, thanks! I've only ever seen them down in South America... don't know what the deal is on that. This was a little field at about 16K and they were melting so quickly that I bumped a few and knicked them over....
Posted Jan 24, 2006 1:05 pm

mconnellNice shot

Hasn't voted

Posted Jan 24, 2006 7:14 pm

Bill JirousekNice

Bill Jirousek

Voted 10/10

Awesome pic!
Posted Jan 25, 2006 3:34 pm

AndinistalocoRe: Nice


Hasn't voted

Glad you liked it! Had fun taking this one....
Posted Jan 26, 2006 1:03 pm

DrazilRe: wow!


Voted 10/10

A huge pain to get through!! Especially with a full pack on.


Posted Feb 6, 2006 9:59 pm

Day HikerRe: wow!

Day Hiker

Voted 10/10

My guess is that the snow starts to melt, with debris settling into the low spots. The debris then absorbs more warmth from the sun and the low spots melt even faster, leaving pinnacles behind.

On Cerro Bonete, on the descent after the summit, I wanted to hike over to a little sub-peak to the east. There was a narrow but tall penitente field in the way, and the fins were running perpendicular to my desired direction. They were so tall (about 2m) that I could not really step over them, and they prevented me from crossing!

About them being so common in only this part of the world, I suspect it is due to the climate (warmth and dryness) of this part of the Andes, which would facilitate melting, evaporation, and sublimation. I also could not help but notice the complete lack of trees at ANY elevation in this part of the Andes. This says strange things about the climate here, maybe that it is very dry, at least in parts of the year.
Posted Feb 23, 2007 1:31 am



Voted 10/10

Great work! I was unaware of penitente until seeing your photo... they remind me of Devil's Club, which is my arch-nemesis at lower elevations.
Posted Mar 12, 2006 7:00 pm

AndinistalocoRe: Fanatastic


Hasn't voted

Appreciate it! I kind of wish I was back there myself...
Posted Mar 19, 2006 9:54 pm

ChrisHow tall?


Voted 10/10

How tall are penitente commonly? They look like they'd be a complete pain to climb through!
Posted Mar 16, 2006 5:47 am

AndinistalocoRe: How tall?


Hasn't voted

The ones I've seen range from so tiny you could stomp them to almost three times my height. You're right... they definitely slow you down. And unfortunately, they're often right on the best route up.
Posted Mar 19, 2006 9:56 pm


Voted 10/10

It's all that I can say...
Posted Aug 18, 2007 5:56 pm

AndinistalocoRe: Perfect!!!


Hasn't voted

Thanks! Have to admit that as I hiked up toward that field I was thinking, "damn, I bet I could get a great shot of Aconcagua from here."
Posted Aug 20, 2007 12:37 pm

KellfeRe: Perfect!!!

Voted 10/10

Wow, and you were right.
Keep having these instincts.
Cheers from Brazil
Posted Aug 20, 2007 1:13 pm

Mark StraubAmazing shot!

Mark Straub

Voted 10/10

And to answer the questions, penitente are formed in the same way as sun cups; the heat of the sun melts some of the snow, and the water trickles down to a low point. Eventually, the water melts out cups, which then refreeze. Repeated, intense cycles of this are what form penitente.

Posted Feb 26, 2009 1:59 am

AndinistalocoRe: Amazing shot!


Hasn't voted

Thanks Mark... I wonder why they're so much more common in the S. Hemisphere?
Posted Feb 27, 2009 12:18 am

Mark StraubRe: Amazing shot!

Mark Straub

Voted 10/10

I'm not sure about that. It seems strange, though. Maybe it has to do with snow conditions?

Posted Feb 27, 2009 11:03 am



Voted 10/10

wonderful photo, thanks!
ciao Paolo
Posted Feb 26, 2009 2:40 am

AndinistalocoRe: Wow


Hasn't voted

Thanks, Paolo!
Posted Feb 27, 2009 12:18 am



Voted 10/10

Very rare, very beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
Posted Jun 14, 2009 1:32 am

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AndinistalocoSubmitted by Andinistaloco
on Jan 18, 2006 12:52 am

Image ID: 146277
Hits: 23592 
Lat/Lon: 32.65°S / 70°W
Object Title: Looking at Aconcagua through...