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Polish traverse - high camp?

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Polish traverse - high camp?

Postby andre hangaard » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:06 pm

I am planing for Aconcagua via the Polish Traverse. After the regular camp 1 and 2, I am thinking about setting up a third camp at around 6.200m (on the top of the travese from Camp 2)
to gain some 400m on summit day. As far as I understand there are some flat spaces to put up tents up there, but I guess water is non-existing... However, I'm trying to find out if this area
offers enough protection in fair weather conditions. André
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Re: Polish traverse - high camp?

Postby markhallam » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:19 pm

Hi Andre

I think I can answer this for you. I climbed Aconcagua in February (see my TR http://www.summitpost.org/aconcagua-2011-solo-via-the-polaco-guanaco-normalo-route/709034 ).

I remember passing the area you speak of, up at 6250m, at the end of the highest traverse line. There were a couple of tents there, when I passed. Yes there is some flat ground - but a bit exposed to wind I would think. I thought it looked a fairly miserable place to camp - and the two people I met there did seem a bit miserable! (they clearly weren't acclimatised and could hardly put one foot in front of the other).

There is another smaller, but maybe slightly more sheltered, area down at White Rocks at 6070m (see photos in my TR). In both areas you will be melting snow for water, but then you will be at any of the high camps - Berlin, Colera or Camp 2 Polish, which are all at around 5900m. When I was on the mountain the highest I was able to access water from a stream was Camp 1 Polish at 5000m (NB with some work with an ice-axe to make a hole in the ice!). Above that height everything stayed frozen - even at Guanacos 3, at 5500m, where I was told you could normally expect a trickle of water in the afternoon.

Another thought: I was set on the Polish Traverse when I went out. However, in the conditions I had, most were failing who went that way. Main reason was that the ascent from Polish 1 at 5000m to Polish 2 at 5900m is tough with a big altitude gain. Then Polish 2 is very exposed and a bad place to be in bad weather. I changed my plans and did a lower traverse round to Guanacos 3 at 5500m. This is much more sheltered to wait out bad weather - and it was the pleasantest camp I stayed at - lovely view of Cordon de los Penitentes and the Ramada Group. Then it is not hard to get from there to Colera Camp up at 5970m (highest of the 3 high camps).

Like you I considered a higher start for the summit day. But the advantage of another 400m in height is off-set by the exposure of the higher camps and also the discomfort of trying to sleep above 6000m. Colera is fine - a long day - but still quite manageable if you start early, are well acclimatised - and have the right weather window.

When are you going?

Best wishes, Mark
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Re: Polish traverse - high camp?

Postby Darek » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:14 pm

I agree that going through Guanacos camp 3 directly from the col below Ameghino is advantageous, especially if you make a round trip: one more intermediate camp, shorter summit day (Colera comparing to Polish camp 2) and not as high to carry as White Rocks. The track to Colera from the col is very well, even though I didn't find it on any map I had.
My trip report (in Polish, but probably translatable with google):
http://dabo.110mb.com/gallery/index.php ... _Aconcagua
Good luck,
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Re: Polish traverse - high camp?

Postby andre hangaard » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:23 pm

Mark, Darek, thank you for your valuable feedback. We plan to go around the first week in February. I will study your TR!
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Re: Polish traverse - high camp?

Postby andre hangaard » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:25 pm

While we are on the subject, here's a nice movie made by a French team doing the Vacas valley route and the Polish Direct.
There are some really good shots from camp 1 and camp 2....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... syNbvJoo74
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