Aconcaguas raging storm

Aconcaguas raging storm



Setting out from basecamp and carrying 35kgs in full expedition load ,my pack laid down with food, stoves ,gas , tent along with my personal gear that i would need against the element ahead, i felt as if there was a small car in my back. With Millie leading the team the objective was to reach 5000 meters. It wasn’t long into the climb that the days climb was not going to be comfortable as by now temperatures were driven down to freezing with the driving winds. Very soon it was clear to see that my team mates one by one were starting to feel the exposure to the elements that are all to common in high altitude mountaineering. With there pace dropping to snails pace this was slowing turning into a painful grind to camp one. Seven hours later we all arrive at 5000 meters and the wind torn expressions on my team mates faces said it all, they clearly were out of there depth in the grip of Aconcaguas raging storm. With winds now at 75kph and having never set up tents before it was left to myself and the guides to make camp, shivering and shaking my team mates climbed in. After a punishing night of the storm and little or no sleep it was decided by the team to ride it out for a second night which proved even more severe as now winds were gusting 90kph and a wind chill of -20 made for a very unpleasant first time expedition environment for my team mates. Ming my tent mate showed strong signs of altitude sickness and on testing by myself and Millie his blood oxygen saturation levels showed 46 and a racing pulse of 80bpm at rest ,he was clearly in great distress and needed to improve quickly or get down in altitude. He did reluctantly admit to not drinking enough water “which is a must at altitude to combats the severe effect of cerebral oedema ,simply the brain swelling at high altitude”. With the storm still raging and with a large water intake he stabilised and safe sat out the night. Early the next morning with winds dwindling slightly ,Punch drunk from the ordeal a sobering reality was setting in with my team mates that maybe just maybe Aconcagua & the war that lay ahead was just a set to far, with that they made a request to Millie to abandon the expedition and return to basecamp and possibly the warm vineyards of Mendoza was a more promising prospect. I could not but be sympathetic to there genuine concerns i was again puzzled as to why companies expose non experienced people to the high altitude mountain that without doubt require a life time of skilful preparation in order to survive… I can only presume it’s the greed of the little green man alas at the risk of the unprepared life…An all to common reality of commercial climbing. So what now did the future hold for the might of Aconcagua and myself were we to dance again. Expedition ” Not knowing what lays ahead sometimes maybe that’s the greatest adventure”. Jason

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