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Special rules for Aconcagua solo climbers?

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Special rules for Aconcagua solo climbers?

Postby brandon » Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:21 am

Hey yal,

That pulse ox thread got me thinking. Am I in for any surprises with my plan for a Feb solo traverse of the mtn via the Polish Direct or N Face variant?

Will having documentation of any previous similar ascents, technical training, medical training etc. be required or useful?
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Postby John Duffield » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:31 pm

I'm not an expert, but if I did this again, it wouldn't be February. They were pulling down Base Camp. February is the end of season with good reason!! It's cold. I'm sure there'll be execeptions, but the main season is last half of Dec through January. I came back with first degree frostbite on 4 fingers and second degree on 6.
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Postby brandon » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:26 pm

thanks for the advice john. i would prefer if the whole show had packed up and left when i get there. how cold is cold? i'm comfortable climbing in -20F weather.
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Aco Solo

Postby dreamy » Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:09 am

Last year climbed Aco solo in Nov. There are no special rules for doing so (anyhow don’t brag about it when getting your permit). Feb March is the other low season (cheaper permit, not many people). Temp went down to -22F, wind 81 mph for a couple of days. Hard but enjoyable. If you are well fed and hydrated, whit good clothes, there is really no reason to get frosbites. Take your time, have fun and be careful (this means: know your limits).
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Postby John Duffield » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:01 am

Isn't the climbing in the cold, it's the nights. From the narrative I wrote after I got back.....

I can’t sleep. My lungs are starving for air. Even turning over in my down sleeping bag has me gasping. I’m slightly above 6,000 meters above sea level. I’m cold. I have my Capilene base layer with my Poly Propylene second layer and my bib and down parka on inside a sleeping bag rated to minus 40 degrees. My core temperature has been chilled by the call of nature earlier. I can’t stop shivering. I’d gone outside in the night. The wind was about 50 knots. The temperature was 30 below. The sky was so close, it was like I was in outer space. It was deathly beautiful. I couldn’t stay outside and I didn’t want to go back in the tent. The night light cast shadows from the eerie rock formations at Camp Three. The air, what there was of it, was the perfect clarity of air with zero moisture. The stars, I normally see faint and distant are luminous and close.

btw, this little hint. Take a piss bottle with a bigger opening. My fav was a Gatorade bottle. Take at least two.
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Postby Damien Gildea » Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:53 am

I "soloed" the normal route in Jan-Feb 06. No bureaucratic problems at all, the rangers were very friendly and easygoing. They did quick finger pulse ox test but no other medical issues or questions. People "soloing" Aconcagua are about as rare as Paris Hilton's ex-boyfriends.

Feb is one of the best months to go. Dec can still have snow in the Canaleta. Jan can have holiday crowds. Summiting early Feb I didn't need an axe and only used crampons above about 6200m, as it was quicker along the thin stamped line of ice than on the scree all around it.

It's a beautiful area, a nice place to get high easily and generally a good trip. Easy to keep away from groups of people (xcept at PdeMulas) and a lot cleaner at the camps than it was years ago (that's where some of our permit fee has been going). Too many inexperienced people rush and have totally unnecessary epics. You should be fine.

Have fun.

D
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"solo" climbers

Postby rcclimbhigher » Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:21 pm

Brandon
with so many people on the mountain, seems more like climbing alone in a long queue(sp), rather than the only man on the mountain...I've tried it before and always seem to run into people. I will be there about the same time as you, and I will also hike in from where the bus from Mendoza drops me off...carrying my own load...and I will acclimatize on two or three lower peaks if you are interested...I'm really going to attempt to summit and return to mulas in one long day. :idea:
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Postby Alpinist » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:15 am

Attemping the summit from PdM is certainly possible; however you'd better be well acclimatized and ultra fit. I don't recommend it for the average climber, especially off season. If you run out of gas on the way back in Feb there is no one around to help you. I wouldn't want to sleep high on the mountain outside your tent that time of year.
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Postby pbakwin » Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:07 am

Early Feb is great. There are still tons of people, but maybe
not as many as in Jan. It is actually better if there is firm
snow in the canaletta -- easier than walking on rocks. There
is no need for an ice ax on the Normal in any case.
P
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Re: Special rules for Aconcagua solo climbers?

Postby Brad Marshall » Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:55 am

brandon wrote:Hey yal,

That pulse ox thread got me thinking. Am I in for any surprises with my plan for a Feb solo traverse of the mtn via the Polish Direct or N Face variant?

Will having documentation of any previous similar ascents, technical training, medical training etc. be required or useful?


Hey brandon:

I was told by one of the local expedition service owners that most of the climbers attempting Aconcagua this year will be there in January and only a few in February. Plaza Argentina wasn't that busy in December. The permit forms don't ask climbers to list any experience or training like they do for ascending Denali or soloing Rainier. It's been a bad season so far in terms of climbing fatalities as you well know so I wouldn't expect you would see much company on the Polish Direct. The mountain has been cold so far with many climbers complaining about frost bitten hands and feet.
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Postby cugel » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:40 am

Hi I was there mid Feb 07, and locals (eg Campo Base) told me that, overall, the weather had been a lot worse in January. It all depends on climate, which no-one can foretell. They also said crowds were far bigger in Dec & Jan - although I thought there were plenty around in Feb. As I saw it (literally) one "down-side" with Feb, and I suppose Dec & Jab, rather than early season is probably overcrowding and resulting state of dunnies at Plaza de M... Anyway, it seems to me that any time in normal climbing season (low, med or high) is fine subject to adequate acclimatisation, reasonable equipment and some luck (eg weather wise) plus of course some common sense. Keeping up fluids is important and can't be stressed enough as a key to safeguard from frostbite. It's a superb area, good luck and enjoy!
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