Highpoint: Camp Cholera (5943m)
We had to go back because of three damaged tents and bad weather.
We spent 10 days on the mountain. Our unguided party of three bypassed all camps except Mulas and Nido. Very cold and windy.
Got hosed at 14,400 Plaza Mulas camp. Put an end to my 7 Summits bid- I love climbing mountains, most for the view, some of the intricate challenge the effort and the pristine environment, but almost dying for something you enjoy blows.
Turned back at 21,400' and never made the summit. Nevertheless a great experience.
Heavy snows and high winds delayed the summit bid, but I and two other American mountaineers reached the top after 14 days in the park. Very strong winds summit day, difficult to stand up straight on any ridge and along the traverse. Crampons were necessary the whole day as the route was covered with wind-blown snow and ice. 14.5 hours up and back, but beautiful all the way.
Started up the Polish Direct at about 5am. Not long after being on the route we decided the snow was too deep and the risk of avalanche was way too high. We saw people attempting the route a couple days before and it was taking them forever and one man got severe frostbite from having to camp out over night on the route. After the decision we returned to camp two and dropped off our technical gear and started up the traverse to the normal route at 6am. It took me five hours to reach the summit from camp two. I would have to wait a couple hours before I could share the summit with anyone else. The clouds started rolling in around 1pm so I was the only one that got any clear summit photos that day. I stayed on the summit with perfect weather for just over three hours. Many people had to retreat from their summit attempts that day in fear of frostbite. The temperature was -13 with wind chill. I also saw people retreating because they didn't have crampons. I ended up breaking trail for everyone that day in about six inches of new snow. You definitely wouldn't have wanted to do the Canaleta without crampons. The return from the summit took two and half hours. We would then traverse the mountain and descend via the Horcones Valley to experience the whole mountain.
Lots of snow above 18000 ft., but successful.
Lots of snow and very cold. But successful.