I always say I am surprised how quickly we get off a big climb and Aconcagua was no exception. It is Tuesday morning and I am writing this from my hotel room in Mendoza after standing on the summit on Saturday night.
I will write a full trip report and update my Aconcagua FAQs and picture gallery but here a quick synopsis of our summit day.
We planned on leaving camp between 2:00 and 5:00 AM on January 29th but the winds were just howling all night long. So our team of 11 stayed in the tents while IMG Senior Guide, Peter Anderson checked the conditions hourly. I heard a stove fire up to melt water around 4:00AM thus the sign that we were going that day.
The weather had been deteriorating over the past few days as we made carries and moves higher up Aconcagua’s slopes. The forecasts were a bit disparate but we knew if we made our summit bid, it needed to be sooner rather than later.
The schedule had an acclimatization day factored in at the 19,500′ High Camp; but everyone was feeling well enough and if the mountain gives you a window – you take it.
So Peter made the call based on his experience on previous Aconcagua climbs, multiple Denali summits and years on Rainer. We left camp as a team at 5:30AM. He set a deliberate pace factoring in weather, schedule and overall team performance.
It was cold, very cold – near 0F as we started. As we moved up towards the Canaleta, a semicircle of high rock walls leading to the summit, clouds began to form and soon the entire area was enclosed with near zero visibility. But pace, patience and perseverance paid off and soon we stood on the summit.
A note here on Aconcagua summits. It is estimated it is a 30% success rate due to difficult weather and climbers underestimating the altitude effect on their bodies. So having our entire team of 11 or 100% success rate is rare for this huge Massif. A tribute to each individual, the leadership and the dynamics of the team itself.
We stayed on the summit for about 45 minutes and returned to High Camp in a swift 2.5 hours.
OK, that’s about all for now as I have to pack to get to the airport to return home to celebrate my wife’s birthday, albeit a day late. Here are a few images from summit day.
Thank you everyone for all your support on this second of the 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything.
Memories are Everything