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Aconcagua – Initial Thoughts

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Worsening conditions on the way to Camp Canada – Parque Provincial Aconcagua, Argentina ©

We didn’t make to the top.

It’s been over a week since poor weather conditions forced us to abandon our summit attempt on Aconcagua – we’ve posted a snippet of the conditions during our time at Nido de Condores (facebook link here). We are disappointed, but given the alternatives we consider ourselves quite fortunate that our guides and teammates made some very prudent decisions that allowed everyone in our group to safely return to friends and family.

Others were not so fortunate.

Summitting’s Always Optional

In our last update (aconcagua – update #4) we wrote “If everything goes well we’re in for a 12 hour day and will summit Aconcagua”… well it didn’t and we didn’t. We tried to wait out a persitent storm for three days at 5,600m/18,400′. Breaks in the weather revealed Aconcagua’s summit above us, tantalizingly close, but as time and the storm continued on our window to summit changed to become finding a window to get us safely off the mountain.

Thirty-five climbers 365m/1200′ above us couldn’t resist the lure of the summit and decided to risk 80kph plus winds, intermittant white-out conditions, and frigid temperatures for a chance to stand atop Aconcagua. We were told only one climber succeeded. One member of the group exhausted and lost perished just outside our camp. Another suffered frostbite so severe it is likely he’ll lose both hands.

Old Climbers

There’s a saying that goes something like this – There are old climbers and there are bold climbers. There are no old, bold climbers. It’s too easy to play armchair mountaineer in cases such as this. We weren’t there. Suffice to say a bad decision was made and a number of people had a very bad day on the mountain.

Thankfully we hunkered down… old climbers.

Would we Go Back?

Nothing’s written in stone, but we would most likely not return. It’s expensive, a long way to go, and it’s not the most pleasant 30km of trail just to get to basecamp. Never say never!

Apres Climb – Mendoza

On a lighter note Cameo loved Mendoza, the heat, and the food. Let’s just say I was less smitten.

The wine tours were fantastic and probably something we’ll highlight in a future post.

If there’s anything specific you’d like us to address regarding this trip please leave us a comment. Lot’s more Aconcagua/Argentina content coming in the near future.

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I’m here for Jimmy – Las Vegas

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New York skyline circa 1940 – New York-New York Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas NV ©

One half of the explorer’s lens is in Las Vegas this weekend.

About 6 months ago I received a call from an old school chum that went something like this –

    Pete: I have Gord with me, we’re planning our next road trip.

    Me: I’m in!

    Pete: Don’t you want to know where we’re going?

    Me: Not really. Nothing to do with livestock, right?

    Pete: We’re thinking Jimmy Buffet in Vegas.

    Me: Great! I wouldn’t know Jimmy Buffet if I tripped over him.

The language was probably a bit saltier and I’m not 100% certain the livestock provision was properly vetted (with these guys you never know), but since then I’ve had some expert coaching/interventions regarding my inexperience with the ‘parrot head’ culture and looking forward to tomorrow’s show.

Now where did I put that Landshark Lager?

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