I previously attempted Aconcagua the last week of February 2010. I had timed it to the low permit season, February 21 to March 15. I had a series of misfortunes one right after the other that I was not prepared to deal with at the time.
One amazing event was the Chile Earthquake of February 27th, 2010, which happened while I was in the hut at Confluencia Camp along the Horcones Trail. The large rockslide from the cliffs above camp had everyone running around screaming in the dark in their undies. After my near-death experience on Liberty Ridge of Mount Rainier the previous June, all I could think was “not again…”
The rock slide from that night came down right to the edge of camp, near the outhouses (picture above). The debris from the numerous other slides blocked the trail in places, making for odd route finding along the way to Plaza de Mulas, and I got lost several times and arrived without water, having shared my last drops with another lost hiker.
After waiting a couple days for the Ranger Physical Exam to verify my fitness level, and waiting out the almost daily snow squalls I ended up being zapped by static from a lightning bolt at 16,300′ on the normal route, and in my panic, ran over a pile of rocks and badly twisted my ankle. I hobbled around for a few days trying to decide if I could continue or not, and found that I could go up without too much difficulty, but down was horrible. I might summit, but coming down was probably too much of a risk for a solo mountaineer.
My outfitter, Lanko was most helpful in getting me back to Mendoza and helping me arrange lodging and transportation. I was able to get to a local office for LAN Airlines in the Plaza Independencia district of Mendoza. BTW: if you go off the beaten path at night, expect some interesting adventures there 😉
I flew home by a very circuitous route, since Santiago Airport in Chile was at about 20% capacity while recovering from the 8.8 earthquake just the week before. Since then I’ve been training a lot (in addition to other adventures I’ll post about later), and now I’m feeling much better up to the challenge.
I’ve been doing some research and thought I’d share a few links:
Haven’t settled on the exact dates yet, but for sure earlier than last time to hope for better weather. I also have some friends who are planning on the first three weeks of February that I’d like to hook up with.
More later …