Mein Aufstieg zum Aconcagua – Teil 1
After having told you about the first 8 days about my way up the Aconcagua, it’s time to tell you more about the most adventurous days of my life…
20.12.2013 – Day 9
A resting day, where we are supposed to relax, read or find a way to enjoy the sun. But the sun might not be as relaxing as expected. With a positive weather forecast our guides confirmed that we will leave our base tomorrow to go to the altitude camps.
The attempt to reach the summit will start in 24h. Therefore the “day off” turned into a preparation day mixing not only excitement but also fear and stress. After 10 days of acclimatization we will try to reach our goal. From here everything looks promising, but how will our bodies react above 6000m? How will the weather really be?
But there is no time for questions anymore; the weather is calling for action!
21.12.2013 – Day 10
Our packs are ready. Each of us shall carry around 15 kg of personal equipment, day food and water. The group materials such as tent, gas to cook or emergency items like oxygen bottles are lifted by the guides or porters. We leave all the unnecessary stuff at the base camp.
It will be 6h to Camp 1: Canada. We will have a change in altitude from 4300m to 5000m. We know the way as we dropped part of our food there during day 7. It is already steeper than most of the journeys that we previously had. Bags and double boots create additional difficulties that we have to manage on top of the growing altitude.
22.12.2013 – Day 11
From Canada to Nido de Condores (5300m). 5 to 6 hours. It looks easy and short from the bottom, but the mountain is hiding itself. At each break we discover a new face, new rocks and at the end understand that we still need hours to reach the next camp.
The scenery is marvelous. The landscape automatically calls for a comparison with pictures we know from the moon. Everything is mineral, dry and silent. It is a mix between ice, snow, rocks and wind. At this altitude we start to dominate most of the Andes, offering us kilometers of perspectives. The sunset is one of the most beautiful ones that I have ever seen. The sun goes down in a pink-red-orange-purple shadow. We can see every second of its way to the other side of earth. Behind us, massive dark clouds are coming down from the summit. The temperature goes down below zero very quickly. Snow is falling. Just as sunflowers, our bodies try to capture the light coming from the sun. We wish to avoid cold, wind and snow. We will not.
23.12.2013 – Day 12
Again the night was below zero. At 7 a.m. it is still freezing in the tent. Humidity generated by our breath turned into ice. Surprisingly altitude is helping us to get warmer. The base camp is down in the valley hidden by the West side of the mountain. If daylight had arrived very soon, the sun only reached our camp by 9 a.m. Every morning we were waiting for this first warm moment. Now in the greater altitude we are on the South face. The sun is warming us just after 7 a.m.
This will be a short day: 4 hours, 5300m to 6000m. It is not too steep. The weather still looks good. Our biggest fear are the “independent” clouds. Blue sky is all around us, but being the highest point of the region, the Aconcagua attracts or captures whatever clouds are passing. Thus, even if the regional weather forecast is promising, you can still have high winds and no sun while trekking.
At the beginning of the afternoon we reach Camp Colera at 6000m. I have never been so high in my life. The sun is still with us, but the wind starts to blow. The perceived temperature significantly decreases with each kilometer per hour.
The last team briefing is held to again explain us how the summit day will be. The guides are clear: we need to be able to follow the group rhythm. Slow movers will have to stop. For security reasons we have to reach the summit in less than 10 hours as it takes you at least 5 hours to get back to Colera afterwards. Arriving at night is always a risk. At the end the judgement is done by the guides. They might ask you to go back if you are too slow or if they feel you cannot make despite your potential good perception of your capabilities. This will be a tough day…
Hier geht’s weiter:
Teil 7 – Der Aufstieg Teil 2
Hier geht’s zurück zu:
Teil 1 – Aconcagua, ich komme!
Teil 2 – Die richtige Ausrüstung
Teil 3 – Sportliche Vorbereitungen
Teil 4 – Das Abenteuer startet
Teil 5 – Die ersten Tage