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Aconcagua Ascent 6 Feb 2011

Anonymous
Mon, 08/23/2010 - 16:36

Hi Everyone

I was just wondering who was going to be on this trip.  My name is Jacqueline and I am from Edinburgh.  It would be good to make contact.

 I was also wondering what preparations everyone was making.  I have not done anything nearly as serious before.  I plan to do a Winter Ice Course at some point at Glen More in Aviemore as I haven't done much of that.  Though I have climbed a number of Scottish Hills...  I also did Kilimanjaro (but in the Summer!)  I expect it is going to be somewhat colder...  Still it will be worth it.

 Jacqueline

Anonymous
Mon, 08/30/2010 - 08:43

Hi Jacqueline

My name is Neil and I will be on the Aconcagua trip with my brother Peter. This is also the first time that both of us have done anything like this so looks like we will all be on a steep learning curve (literally :-) ).

We are both reasonably fit so my focus is now going to be on carrying weight on my back. I am planning a number of trips trekking in Wales and will be loading up my rucksack with extra weight as we get nearer to the trip. I am also planning a weekend in Scotland for a Winter Ice course later in the year as I have never used crampons or ice axe before.

It will be good to share training progress and advice as well as any recommendations on equipment. I will be making a big investment in some equipment over the next few months so any recommendations or advice would be very useful. I am particularly interested in the boots that people will be taking. I know we have to have double lined plastic boots and I have sourced a pair but they are quite heavy at 2.5kg. I have been looking at lighter pairs but they are very expensive. I don't want to be let down by my kit though so I might just have to bite the bullet.

 

Looking forward to meeting everyone on the trip and getting some further advice through this site.

 

Regards

Anonymous
Mon, 08/30/2010 - 21:05

Great to make contact.  I feel somewhat relieved that you seem to be in the same position as me.  I have not looked in detail over the Kit List although there does seem to be quite a lot.  I am in a similar frame of mind as I would not want to be unprepared.  The boots will be extremely important and I will let you know how I get on and what I decide.  It will take some getting used to as they will be heavy.  I have some pretty solid winter boots and my ankles are always very sore after a day in them.  I am hoping to do a course at Glen More in the Cairngorms over Winter - will give you some info on that when I find out.  The weight training (ie heavy pack) is going to be hard.  20Kg...  I am thinking of my summer suitcase weight.  Oh dear!  I weigh 54 kg - think I might need to bulk out a bit!!!  Keep in touch and I will let you know of anything that crosses my mind in the preparations.

 Regards

Jacqueline

Anonymous
Tue, 08/31/2010 - 11:56

Hi Jacqueline

Good to make contact with you and I'm pleased we all seem to be in the same boat.

If you've climbed Kilimanjaro and a few Scottish Hills I'd say you're Kilimanjaro and a few Scottish Hills ahead of me.  When Neil asked me to come on this trip I thought it sounded great so agreed very quickly.  Now having seen a few Youtube clips about the ascent (and being only 5 months away), reality is starting to hit.  Still, it's a great reason for me to up my training and get into condition.  So it's on with the trainers, weights packed in the rucksack and credit card at the ready.

I'm currently living in Barcelona so I'll spend some time in the Pyrenees to build up the strength and stamina.  I've bought a small amount of kit (jackets, trousers, underwear etc) and it's clear that both weight and volume will be an issue.  High altitude boots are my biggest concern as they're similar to ski boots so v. heavy and expensive.  Any advice on this matter would be appreciated.

Edinburgh is a great city and I guess you'll have plenty of opportunity to hike through some beautiful countryside, so good luck and enjoy the training.  I look forward to meeting you in February.

All the best

 Peter

Wed, 09/01/2010 - 13:38

Hi everyone

John McLauchlan here from Nottingham. I am booked on the same trip. I believe another young lady, Lucy Butterton, is booked on as well.

I have done a number of Exodus trips (met Lucy on the Everest base camp trip last November) and they have all been very well organised and led. I guess this one will be similar to the Kili trip, just a bit longer and higher!

I am planning a few days' ice pick/crampon training in Scotland as well, probably December or January, and need to look at the kit list carefully; not sure how much of the kit can be hired in Argentina and I will be asking Exodus about this in due course. Might be looking at hiring a local porter above base camp as well!

Looking forward to it...I think!

John

Anonymous
Wed, 09/01/2010 - 14:13

Great to have some contact it makes it feel a bit less daunting and more personal.  I am planning to hire a porter after base camp as well.  Have not looked out my Kit List yet but hope to hire as much as possible. 

 Keep in touch.

Jacqueline

Anonymous
Sun, 10/10/2010 - 20:56

hello all! great to be in touch with you. thanks for pre-intro John - just so I wouldn't get too nervous and duck out!
i'm really looking forward to the trip though I'm apprehensive. EBC last year was great and I've done Kili a few years ago though I think Aconcagua is going to be a bit more extreme!
is anyone following a specific training plan or just stepping it up a bit and curbing the xmas excess?!
speak soon, Lucy

Anonymous
Thu, 10/14/2010 - 14:43

Hi all

So I have been busy getting my kit list together for the trip and just booked myself and Peter on a Winter skills course on Ben Nevis on 4th / 5th December.

Got my boots a couple of weeks ago and now doing lots of leg strength training just so I can lift my boots up :-) Doing my usual gym and MTB training but also now getting some good treks in carrying my rucksack. This will be invaluable just to help with packing the rucksack properly and getting the weight distribution right. I am not following any special program for the training and hoping that my general fitness regime and trekking will be enough. I have included a little more leg strength exercises into my normal program though.

I have also been looking at the many videos on youtube which is great to get an idea of what we will be going through.

It's interesting to hear that many of us have little experience in this kind of trek. I think we all might need some encouragement throughout this trip.
Looking forward to meeting you all.
Neil

Anonymous
Thu, 10/14/2010 - 20:57

Wow I am impressed by your training. I haven't bought my boots yet and wonder what type you got. i have already got some pretty heavy winter boots and remember my ankles being extremely sore after a day walking. I am only doing my gym routine at the moment. Although I did manage to go to the Ice Wall up North. It was good to put on crampons and use an ice hack. I think even being familiar with the gear is less intimidating. I won't be doing any weight training with a heavy back pack until next month but I am away walking for a week to keep the fitness up. I will definately look on the net for some videos as long as they don't put me off - sometimes it is just better going with the flow. Looking forward to meeting you all. Jacqueline

Anonymous
Tue, 10/26/2010 - 08:19

My names Louise, and I will also be joining you on this adventure. Yes I have done Killy, Toulak and some smaller ones. Beening fitted for my boots currently, I am going either for the Scarpa Omega or Vega High, both are suitable for the height. Worth the investment ONLY if you are planning Mckinley or Everest though, cost around £300.00. . Training. running a couple of miles every day , I am a kickboxer so that is a couple of times a week and gym. I am working on 50 sit ups , 50 push ups and trying to hit 50 chin ups a day. currently chin ups a providing VERY difficult to get pass 17......... but I have a couple more months. Booked this trip at the beginning of the year so cant wait .. Looking forward to meeting you all . Regards Louise :-)

Anonymous
Wed, 10/27/2010 - 16:59

Nice to make contact. I went down to the Lake District to get a chunk of my gear yesterday. I was recommended a shop called Needles in Keswick which I found really good. I decided on a pair of Boreal G1 Lite boots. They are canvas but recomended for what we are doing (I do hope so!) I tried on some other boots but found them too wide on the ankle. My problem was I found all the boots were really made for men and the ankle was just too wide. These were the best I could find. I am still going to have to play around with insoles and padding to stop any slipping. Did a couple of hills around Torridon recently which were pretty wild and now I back at the gym. Will definately start looking at carrying my pack (weighted down) this week. Your routine Louise sounds a killer - my upper body strength is not too good - I will definately have to add some training in. Re: Needles shop in Keswick. If you spend over £500 (not difficult for us) they give you a 10% discount. You also get a card giving you a discount every time you shop with them in the future. Apparently they have a web site if any one is interested. (I also managed to buy some really good duvet boots from them. Keep in touch everyone and happy training!

Anonymous
Wed, 10/27/2010 - 17:22

Hi Jacqueline
Thank you for the advice on the discount. and the duvet boots sound interesting. Something I may need to get as I got frost bite from Killy. Thankfully after my SELF operation its gone, I was in quite a lot of pain for about 6 months then had to cut it out! . Yes training is proving something to be nightmare not enough hours in the day but hopefully it will pay off! I have a second fitting next week for my boots . very excited..about this climb.. Thank you for the reply and look forward to meeting you.

Kind regards
Louise

Anonymous
Mon, 11/22/2010 - 22:06

I did Aconcagua last year and have posted z review on the exodus website which gives handy hints about equipment etc. Hope you find it helpful.

Anonymous
Mon, 11/22/2010 - 22:11

Ps I used scarpa omega plastic boots. Lightweight, easy to put on and take off - important when crawling in and out of a small tent with the snow blowing in behind you, and with removable inner boots which you can wear in your sleeping bag to keep your toes warm. It's freeeeeeezing up Aconcagua so take loads of warm stuff such as heated handwarmers if you're inclined to get cold fingers.

Anonymous
Mon, 11/22/2010 - 22:16

pps.. If you don't take the right equipment with you, the guides will make you either buy new stuff in Mendoza or hire it - so take plenty money as you don't get to climb this mountain without approved equipment - they check it on your first day there. Note re posting above - canvas or leather winter boots won't do. They'll insist on plastics so better to buy the right thing!

Anonymous
Tue, 11/23/2010 - 09:32

Hi all, this is getting very exciting now, we're counting down the weeks rather than the months!! Training has been great fun as I've managed to avoid the gym completely up till now.  I've upped my mountain biking, power walking with weights, running / steps and walking in the mountains recently which has taught me a lot.  Mainly make sure you break in your footwear before the trip.  I found my new hiking boots pressed onto my toe and left me with a painful bruise...I could hardly walk at one point.  Off to buy all the kit next weekend then test it on Ben Nevis for the ice axe and crampon training, should be fun.  Good luck to everyone with your final preparations and all the best.

Anonymous
Sat, 11/27/2010 - 18:20

Hi all, been on the hill twice since Im working as an Exodus leader. Big bots wise, its mentioned in the notes. Things have mowed onwards since couple seasons ago, so last year probably 40% of the people there were using La Sportiva Spantik. Fit is quite important, so take lots of time to choose between sizes.

Kili wise, anybody will say its a great achievement. However, summinting Kili apart from giving u confidence in dealing with height, does not mimic the high environment conditions u face on Aconcagua. Thats why BC is  comfy and higher up the guides are doeing their best to support the clients.

Training wise, I feel that winter camping is very helpful as a preparation for the trip. Doesnt have to be extended period, but if u setup camp on snow, than that could resemble conditions higher up on the hill.

Technical training wise it could be important to play with proper technique for using poles, both uphill and downhill. When u walk with crampons, look for ways of walking in such a way that u minimise the effort spenditure. Raising ure heels on an easy slope is a good example of spending too much energy. Fontpointing is not really necesarry giving good weather conditions on the hill. Also, ice axe is rarely used (not if there a freak storm...which case.. well decide upon using them) and its more emphasis set on proper help from using the poles. 

Up to BC the guides use crosstraining shoes, higher than that normally big boots. 

Hope this helps, Alex 

Anonymous
Mon, 11/29/2010 - 20:58

Alex/mmjones

Thanks for the advice. Getting very excited now as we enter the 2 month count down. I chose the Sportiva Spantik boot so good to know I have gone with the majority. I have worn them a couple of times now on short walks just to get the feel and will truely test them next weekend when myself and Peter climb Ben Nevis. We were hoping for snow for the weekend so that we can really get stuck in to the crampon and ice axe training...now we are just hoping that we can get up to Scotland as I might have over down the snow dance :-) I am pretty much there with the lit now I think although my biggest concern is how I will fit it all in my rucksack.

Training is going well although I would like to be doing more mountain trekking. I really like the idea of snow camping as part of the training and might just have to camp in the back garden this week!

Hope the training is going well for everyone and looking forward to meeting everyone at the start of our great adventure.

Cheers, Neil

 

Anonymous
Wed, 12/08/2010 - 16:45

Well done for making it up Ben Nevis.  I would have liked to have come along but unfortunately the roads in Edinburgh have been extremely hazardous.  My husband was stuck for 10 hours on Monday evening on the M8.  The roads are still closed and it is pretty poor here.  Still I have been out and about with my boots.  My goodness it is hard going and very sore on the ankles.  I think I will definately take some padding of sorts and plenty of plasters....  Somebody recommended some thin foam taped on with Duct Tape.  I will give it a try.  I have not done any crampon training yet.  Did you find it hard?  Could I read up about how to do that and practice myself?

 Good to keep in touch.

 Jacqueline

Wed, 01/05/2011 - 13:41

Hi again from John McLauchlan

Christmas over, the gym is cold and dark! 

A couple of queries for Alex please:

1.  can we hire crampons and ice picks in Mendoza?

2.  can we hire sleeping bags and mattresses as well orwould it be better to take our own?

3.

Wed, 01/05/2011 - 13:41

Hi again from John McLauchlan

Christmas over, the gym is cold and dark! 

A couple of queries for Alex please:

1.  can we hire crampons and ice picks in Mendoza?

2.  can we hire sleeping bags and mattresses as well orwould it be better to take our own?

3.

hiow

Wed, 01/05/2011 - 13:45

Hi again from John McLauchlan

Not sure what happened back there but my IT skills are somewhat limited...

A couple of queries for Alex please (and apologies if these have been dealt with elsewhere):

1.  can we hire crampons and ice picks in Mendoza?

2.  can we hire sleeping bags and mattresses as well or would it be better to take our own?

3.  how much cash (US$) should we take with us to cover permits etc?

4.

Wed, 01/05/2011 - 13:49

Hitting the tab button is a mistake!!

4.  do people generally hire porters to carry their kit after base camp and if so, what are the approximate costs? 

I will sign off now..

All the best

 John

Anonymous
Wed, 01/05/2011 - 20:35

Hello all,

some answers for John

1-yes, but they are not the latest or the lightest things. Mendoza has quite a few shops for rental.

2-sleeping bags yes. My reccomandation would be to have a sleeping bag liner. I also fear that the quality of  a rental sleeping bag from Mendoza is not matching the quality of the UK hire place ones.

Matress-usually possible to get a foam one, but I would not be sure about the inflatable versions. If you are a person loving confort and keen on having an inflatable one, then its safer to get one from home.

3-Im a bit confused about this one, I remember reading on the trip notes that you will be told how much the cost is depending on the departure.

4-on the trip page, u have a selector with trip notes. If u open it you can dowload a pdf file with information and some estimative costs at the time of publishing.

If you go for full porterage, my memory tells me its something in the range of 600 usd.

People have different aproaches on the porter issue. Up to BC is hard to know for sure.

Once there, some choose full porterage , some decide to share, some will use from camp2 up and  a few would go on hauling the whole gear by themselves.

Mind you, above BC there is a communal load that gets split between the group, so each one has to manage some group weight as well.

If one wants to do gear hauling, then the quality of the backpack becomes paramount. Good quality, good quality and qood quality once again. :)

Well, hope this helps a bit. One month to go now! :)

 

Anonymous
Thu, 01/06/2011 - 19:15

Alex (and gang out there)--

I am also joining the group and very much appreciate this forum...great questions (many that I have had) and great answers (thank you Alex).

I have several items from a dogsled trip in the Arctic that are warm enough, however, I am a bit unsure on the weight side.  I have a -40 (synthetic) sleeping bag but it weighs almost 7 lbs. (about 3 kg), I have a great down jacket but it is expedition size, and I have some real heavy mitts and hat.  So, I would clearly be carrying a few extra pounds (other things I have from other hiking trips are quite light).  However, this seems like it would make sense to bring these items and have porters carry them as a less expensive option versus buying new gear.  Your thoughts?

In the boot debate, what are the pros and cons of going with the hard plastic boots vs. the Spanitks several have mentioned?  I am off on a three day trip this weekend and will be using the plastic boots with crampons (rental) in an attempt to make up my mind (and get some training in some nasty winter weather--Mount Washington, NH, USA).

Again--thank you for any and all assistance...one more month!

Darin 

 

 

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 15:39

Many thanks Alex for your comments, they are very helpful, and hi Darin

Looking forward to meeting you all in just 4 weeks time! 

Best wishes

 John 

Anonymous
Wed, 01/19/2011 - 18:20

Hi everyone, with less than 3 weeks to go before departure I just wanted to say good luck with your final days of training and looking forward to getting to know you all.  I just left Snow and Rock for the last time (hopefully) so I'm fully kitted up and ready to go.  Here's a couple of interesting facts..1/ apparently it's really windy on Aconcagua because it's the only 7k peak so close to the ocean 2/ the mountain has a different name in Chile because Aconcagua sounds very similar to s**t in the local dialect.  Not sure if either of these 2 facts are actually true, but they make for a good story :-).  Have a great trip to Mendoza and see you there!

Peter

Anonymous
Thu, 01/20/2011 - 14:59

Hi Peter (plus the rest of the gang!)

 I am very much looking forward to meeting everybody now.  I can hardly believe it is going to happen.  It is going to be a wonderful adventure and it will be nice to meet you all and share the experience together.  See you very, very, very soon.!

 Jacqueline 

Anonymous
Thu, 01/27/2011 - 11:12

Hello all, been away training myself as much as possible....but doeing ski touring. Yesterday we were blessed with 60cm of powder snow.....so Ive done lots of training in the pow....:)

Darin, Spantics are basically plastic boots, ie with an inner boot and a shell which is just more leather and high tech materials. Its a modern plastic boot if u can say that.

Down jacket_ High up its a good thing to have proper down stuff . BC if cold is great to hang around with a jacket, altough dinner time is better to have a somehow lighter layer, i mean down. Massive protection comes in handy on the higher camps, used static. Walking wise I only think about summit day on a down jacket.

Mittens.....they are golden. Again higher up. Same with face protection.

Sleeping bag. a 40 (i believe fahrenheit) must be top. I think is cheaper if u share a porter and have it carried than buying another. Just make sure u get a compression sack for it.

right, 10 days to go.....need more powder snow. :))

Best, me, Alex

Anonymous
Mon, 01/31/2011 - 20:40

Alex, thank you for all of the advice, very helpful...See you all next week! 

Darin 

 

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