Aconcagua 2016 … summit push continues

Aconcagua 2016 … summit push continues



By now life on Aconcagua was a game of patience …. With a 97% summit failure rate to date on Aconcagua team after team were turning around and pulling out of the mountain. The severe weather effects of the El Niña bring with it the devastating cold effects and high winds. Base camp was practically empty but in a way it became special, the silence drowned out the doubters that the mountain was unclimbable this year and best leave it for another day….a statistic i just wasn’t ready to sign up to just yet…. After all i had travelled nearly a million miles around the world, trained like a lunatic and made huge personal sacrifices to be in this moment… No, not yet ,not every stone was unturned. Day after day came and went ,sitting in my two man tent at 4200 meters and in constant contact with my weather man Pat mc Dermott back home praying that i hadn’t made the wrong decision to stay on…. Then it happened a small window seamed to appeared and with pats confirmation ,I’m off….with full expedition loaded back roughly 32kgs packed full with my tent ,jet boil cooker , food ,sleeping bag ,extra cloths crampons etc and all the necessary climbing kit i needed for a maximum attack non stop attempt. On what had planned to be already an aggressive 5day ascent i now had to fast track everything to steal a summit attempt. I quietly focused leaving plaza de Argentina basecamp located in the Vacus valley on the eastern side , letting nothing but positive thoughts in. It’s now Tuesday 11th and the winds are whipped up to 55kms as i arrive into camp 1 realising i was moving very fast and feeling strong i pushed past and headed for camp 2. I knew if I was to make any successfully attempt it required pushing through the storm in the hope that things would calm. Each corner i turned the winds were thrashing times flooring me as now they were raging at 75 gusting 90kph bring with it a bitter face cutting sheer…numbing. Reaching camp 2 after 7/8hrs climbing and with darkness approaching in this relentless weather i had no choice but to camp ,if only for a few hours relief. “which lets just say it wasn’t just fun pitching the tent in gale force winds”. Melting ice for hydration and yes noodles soup i settled for a few hours rest. With no chance of sleep with mother natures orchestra in full glory ,3am hot water was on food prepared and fuel for the next leg of the push to camp 3. It was cold very cold but magical, now around the 6000meter mark i was starting to really feel the effects of the high altitude, as my pace slowed and breathing became restricted the load on my back became the weight of a small car. The most beautiful sunrise danced in the sky in the majestic couloirs of red and burned orange giving a warm feeling to the day, at least mentally. Arriving into the area know as camp three at 6200meters with a landscape straight out of the moon ,l kept pushing still OK feeling strong and determined….the summit was next….

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