Looking at Aconcagua through...

Looking at Aconcagua through...

Looking at Aconcagua through a penitente field.
on Jan 18, 2006 12:52 am
Image ID: 146277


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Viewing: 1-20 of 23

magellan - Jan 24, 2006 12:01 am - Hasn't voted

Sweet shot

I've always wanted to see penitente or sastrugi up close.


Andinistaloco - Jan 24, 2006 1:05 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Sweet shot

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....

mconnell - Jan 24, 2006 7:14 pm - Hasn't voted

Nice shot

Bill Jirousek

Bill Jirousek - Jan 25, 2006 3:34 pm - Voted 10/10


Awesome pic!


Andinistaloco - Jan 26, 2006 1:03 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice

Glad you liked it! Had fun taking this one....


Drazil - Feb 6, 2006 9:59 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: wow!

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


Day Hiker

Day Hiker - Feb 23, 2007 1:31 am - Voted 10/10

Re: wow!

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.


greglief - Mar 12, 2006 7:00 pm - 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.


Andinistaloco - Mar 19, 2006 9:54 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Fanatastic

Appreciate it! I kind of wish I was back there myself...


Chris - Mar 16, 2006 5:47 am - Voted 10/10

How tall?

How tall are penitente commonly? They look like they'd be a complete pain to climb through!


Andinistaloco - Mar 19, 2006 9:56 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: How tall?

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.

Kellfe - Aug 18, 2007 5:56 pm - Voted 10/10


It's all that I can say...


Andinistaloco - Aug 20, 2007 12:37 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Perfect!!!

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."

Kellfe - Aug 20, 2007 1:13 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Perfect!!!

Wow, and you were right.
Keep having these instincts.
Cheers from Brazil

Mark Straub

Mark Straub - Feb 26, 2009 1:59 am - Voted 10/10

Amazing shot!

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.



Andinistaloco - Feb 27, 2009 12:18 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Amazing shot!

Thanks Mark... I wonder why they're so much more common in the S. Hemisphere?

Mark Straub

Mark Straub - Feb 27, 2009 11:03 am - Voted 10/10

Re: Amazing shot!

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



p-mike - Feb 26, 2009 2:40 am - Voted 10/10


wonderful photo, thanks!
ciao Paolo


Andinistaloco - Feb 27, 2009 12:18 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Wow

Thanks, Paolo!


TyeDyeTwins - Jun 14, 2009 1:32 am - Voted 10/10


Very rare, very beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Viewing: 1-20 of 23