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Back from Aconcagua

Regional discussion and conditions reports for South America. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the South American Climbing Partners section.
 

Re: Back from Aconcagua

Postby Alpinist » Tue Dec 27, 2005 2:19 pm

Thanks Mike. The stones passed uneventfully and I'm doing quite well now. Did you make it down to Orizaba?
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Re: Back from Aconcagua

Postby Buz Groshong » Tue Dec 27, 2005 3:03 pm

I would not give up on Diamox because of kidney stones. The warning about increased risk of kidney stones seems to me to be aimed at those who take Diamox over an extended time period (such as for galucoma or epilepsy) since you don't get kidney stones overnight. Even for those who take it regularly, the recommendation is to be sure to drink plenty fluids, which will lessen the risk of kidney stones. This is, of course, easier for me to say since I have never had kidney stones and have not exerienced the pain. Congrats on the summit.
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Re: Back from Aconcagua

Postby Alpinist » Tue Dec 27, 2005 6:17 pm

I also wondered how long it takes to develop kidney stones. I asked my doctor about this, but she wasn't sure exactly. Considering that I never had a problem before, and that Diamox is known to cause kidney stones, especially when combined with dehydration, I have to believe that they developed during this trip. Keep in mind that the stones are very small (< 1/8 inch). It's not hard to fathom that they could form so quickly. I agree with you that drinking plenty of fluids should help to reduce the risk. Still, I won't take Diamox again. For me, it is not worth the risk.
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Re: Back from Aconcagua

Postby marnold92701 » Wed Dec 28, 2005 8:04 am

Yes... ended up going solo. almost summitted on the 21st... bad weather though... the previous 2 days were perfect, of course. Made the crater rim, took a picture and descended... got lots of white-out until back down around 16,500'. saw only 4 other people the whole time on the mountain... at the hut.
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Re: Back from Aconcagua

Postby Alpinist » Wed Dec 28, 2005 3:25 pm

Mike, sorry to hear that the summit eluded you but congrats on reaching the rim at least with the poor weather. We didn't even make it that far when I was there due to high winds. It was blowing like hell every day we were there.
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Re: Back from Aconcagua

Postby Alpine72 » Fri Dec 30, 2005 7:25 am

Nice job on bagging this peak. Our group of 4 is leaving on Jan 17th. We will be attempting the standard route. Any recomendations on where we should expect or not expect to find snow to make water once we depart base camp? Over how many days was your ascent? Our plans are to spend 3 days at base camp plus the 2 or 3 getting there. 10-11 total days for ascending. Never heard about the stones with Diamox but will take it anyways and try and stay well hydrated.
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Re: Back from Aconcagua

Postby Alpinist » Fri Dec 30, 2005 2:57 pm

My trip report lists the number of nights we stayed at each camp. Here's a summary of water availability at each of the camps along the normal route.

Confluencia
Water is available to the public in the form of a hose/faucet on the south end of camp, near the ranger tent. Warning: the water is clean/drinkable, however it is very high in magnesium. Neither filtering nor treating the water will remove this mineral. Unfortunately, it acts as a laxative affecting different people in different ways. My partner had no problems, whereas I had bad stomach cramps and some diaria. I don't know of any alternative other than to carry water, which is not practical in large quantities due to the distance.

Plaza del Mulas

A glacial stream runs through camp. The expedition/mule companies collect water upstream through hoses which are routed to their tents. If you hire mules to pack in your gear, which I strongly recommend, the mule company will provide you with water, even hot water if you ask for it. We drank the water without any problem.

Camp Canada
There is a snowfield on the east side of camp that requires a little bit of a walk. Snow is becomming scarce.

Nido
There is still plenty of snow, but you may have to walk to get to it depending on where you camp. I think the most snow is to be found on the higher side of camp (towards the summit) and on the far north side.

Berlin/Calera
Camp Berlin is one of the worst camp sites I've ever seen. There is human feces and toilet paper under every small rock, garbage everywhere and the strong smell of urine in the air. You couldn't pay me to camp there. I wouldn't melt snow from anywhere near camp.

Conversely, there is no sign of litter or human waste at Calero (sp?), though it is more exposed to wind. Calero is perhaps 200ft higher than Berlin. Upon reaching Berlin, take an immediate left, follow the trail that traverses the ridge towards the black rocks near the top. I will post a picture of this camp later today, as I did not see any on SP, nor do I see any mention of the camp anywhere. I'm very happy that we decided to summit from there. There should still be ample snow available on the northeast end of camp.

Be sure to bring powdered drinks like Gatorade with you for every day. The water on Aconcagua does not have minerals in it (except for the magnesium at Confluencia). Your body does not derive much benefit from the water without the addititives.

Good luck with your expedition!
Last edited by Alpinist on Tue May 30, 2006 11:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Back from Aconcagua

Postby Alpine72 » Fri Dec 30, 2005 4:57 pm

Thanks for the beta, we are using mules and I allways bring my gatorade powder when on longer trips. Wasn't aware of this higher camp above Berlin, good to know!!
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Re: Back from Aconcagua

Postby Alpinist » Fri Dec 30, 2005 5:45 pm

I added some info to the Aconcagua page along with a picture of Camp Calera.
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