Aconcagua -16th January 2012

neil On January - 26 - 2012Comments Off

16th Jan
We left the tents at 5.30am as intended, I had been up since 4 am changing clothes and re fixing my bag. The brain just doesn’t function at that altitude and it was still about -20 inside the tent and about -30 with the wind chill outside. I was in a right state. I hadn’t tried on my down jacket and I had put on new straps to my crampons, the jacket needs to be altered in about 5 places, which I didn’t have time to do and the crampon straps ended up fastening on the inside, which is defiantly one of the reasons that I tripped and fell on the way down.
When I got out the tent everyone was leaving. Andreus gave me a hand to pull on my rucksack, which I also couldn’t fasten because of the down jacket and handed me my poles which he had set to the wrong settings. I’m not blaming Andreas for doing these things in any way, these were my things that I should have prepared for. But it’s back to this ability to do anything, you can’t focus on simple tasks. But all of these small things make it a far more uncomfortable trip.
About 200 mtrs up Regina quit saying that it was two cold, then Peter decided that he would go back too.
The rest of us plodded on into the dark. It wasn’t long before I lost the feeling in both hands and that’s with expedition gloves on, I tried to heat them up one at a time by placing my pole under my arm and rubbing my fingers and hand together, this does work but by the time you get one ok the next one is frozen again. The most simplest of tasks are so hard to carry out like switching off your head torch or putting on your goggles as both of them require you to take off your gloves. Every 2-3 min your body takes a panic attack and sends you gasping for breath because off the lack of oxygen. Each step has to be forced out of you as you plod on. Your brain races trying to make sense of what you are doing, giving you little scenarios of what could happen on this waste land.
We were the only people trying to summit and as the wind picked up it became unbelievably colder and it seemed to get harder. Up ahead I could see Ariel our Argentinian guide stopped with Harrold and Radek when we got there he said that the wind was too strong and that we would have to go back to camp. I was gutted, I didn’t know if I had it in me to go up again, I’m still not eating and feeling weaker by the day.
I miss my wife and kids!

Aconcagua 15th January 2012

neil On January - 26 - 2012Comments Off

15th Jan
Today we made the trip to camp 3, I can’t believe how difficult things are getting. It shows on everyone, it took over 4 hours make the trip and that’s with a porter to help with my stuff and most of Reginas heavy things, she had a very bad day yesterday. Peter and her took nearly an hour longer than the group to get to camp 2.
When we arrived we had to help set up the tents, you can’t imagine how difficult it is to do the simplest of tasks. Clearing the snow and moving stones to tie the tent to, it took us about an hour to complete each tent. We intend to go for a summit push tomorrow, I don’t think it’s a great idea. We have all had two very hard days and one of our local guides says that the weather isn’t suppose to be very good. To make thinks worse I still haven’t really eaten anything, it’s going on for ten days now, I must have lost about a stone in weight. It’s just so difficult to do anything at all, you sit and look at a biscuit in the packet, but the effort to reach over and pick it up is just too much and the thought of eating it is worse.
Using the pee bottle at night is a classic as the inside of the tent is about -20 degrees so you don’t really want to get out your sleeping bag because of the cold and the massive amount of effort it will take. So you just lay there thinking about it for hours.
We leave at 5 am for our summit bid tomorrow.
Wish me and Mc Flee were in the sand pit at home!!!