Thursday, February 10, 2011
FTA Aconcagua Dec 11 Falso - Summit bid brewing!
from stu in the USA office
Feb 10, 2011
Brent has written in from BC at the end of a second day of hauling loads to Nidos de Condores to let us know that all is well!
After two load carries to Nidos our team has approximately 10 days of food stashed and they are now just waiting for a weather window to open and looks as though they have a few days ahead of mediocre weather before they will see a good window for moving up! They have been moving really well doing the round trips to Nidos in about 4 hours so the acclimatization climbs on Catedral and Bonete have clearly paid off!
In a day or so they will begin the push and likely not return to Mulas until after a summit bid unless the weather deters them. The wind can be very strong on Aconcagua and is called the "viento blanco" or "white wind" and we'll hope they do not encounter it! The weather reports in the days ahead suggest very strong winds for the 12th and then less strong for the next 4-5 days. It seems they will have good weather through the 17th but nevertheless we'll keep a watchful eye!
Brent and Bernardo are having a great time and already scheming for the next climb to come after Aconcagua. It seems climbers are often barely begun on one project before they dream of the next and our climbers are no different!
For many people the altitude and severe weather on Aconcagua provides a great stepping stone for a first 8000m peak like Cho Oyu or Broad Peak. Having a good experience sleeping at approx 6000m/20000ft and climbing to near 7000m/23000ft is important for gaining the confidence and experience to tackle a peak in excess of 8000m/264000ft. It can also enable a climber to take on a more technical peak like Ama Dablam or Satopanth and know they will be able to focus on the climbing and less so on the altitude.
In fact due to the southerly location of Aconcagua it is often considered to behave as an mini 8000m peak with "thinner" air than a mountain of the same altitude in a more equatorial location like Nepal. As I understand the core theory, the earth spins it keeps a thicker layer of atmosphere at its middle and less at its extremes. I have seen one report that the troposphere reaches 12-15km high in the tropics and only 8-10km at the poles. The temperature being colder in the polar regions is said to have an even greater effect on the perceived altitude. Denali is said to fool people into thinking less of its ~20,000ft altitude when it acts perhaps more like 23,000ft Himalayan peak. Interesting stuff and yet another reason to acclimatize carefully and listen to your body!
for more fun i have added a few links on the topic of latitude and climbing...enjoy!
for a fun thread
for the scientifically motivated
We have recently confirmed quite a few trips and they include
Cho Oyu - April 10, 2011
Broad Peak - June 10, 2011
K2 - June 10, 2011
Spantik - Aug 1, 2011
Satopanth - Sept 3 start
We have spaces available still on all of these trips but some of them are filling fast!
See a list of all of our expeditions and treks at the main FTA site: www.fieldtouringalpine.com