Aconcagua 2020 – Polish Direct Route Update
Saturday, February 1
The guys had a final good night of rest in base camp, and in the morning they finalized all packing and sent a few loads of camp gear up the mountains with porters. The first reports of challenging weather were beginning to trickle in and Topo was seeing a forecast that included a big wind event on the horizon. The plan at this point was to move up to C1 for a few nights to continue acclimatizing before descending back to base camp for a few days to get out of the wind.
Later that morning they moved to camp 1 at 16,500’/5000m. Most teams take 4-6 hours to make this move, but Justin’s months of mountain training began to pay dividends and they cruised up in a mere 3.5 hours. They settled in to camp for the night and planned to tag camp 2 the next morning.
Sunday, February 2
Topo reported another good night of sleep for both himself and Justin. Winds were low at the time so they continued with the plan and climbed up to camp 2 at 19,400’/6000m. They left a cache of gear at 5900m so they could be lighter next time they came up, and got to take a close look at the ice and snow covered route above. Topo reported a total moving time of 4.5 hours and Justin was steady and strong. Another team was seen on the route and they communicated back to Topo that the route is in good condition. Cold mornings were turning into relatively warm days – great weather for summit teams.
Make sure you turn up the volume on the video below to listen to Topo’s report!
Moving forward the plan was to stay the same. Spend another night in camp 1 and stay another day at altitude. They would descend back to base camp the following day to get out of the wind.
Monday, February 3
To keep the blood flowing, the team decided to hike up to Ahmegino Col (5400m) in the morning. An uneventful hike (that’s a good thing) was followed up by another day of hanging at camp 1 to continue letting the body adjust. Winds kicked up that night and sleep was a tad bit harder to come by.
In the video below, poor Topo is on zipper duty, trying to fix it so at least some of the warmth stays in the tent. How about that wind?
Tuesday, February 4
After 3 nights at 5000m, a tag of 6000m, and a gear cache left at 5900m, the team felt like they had put the hard work in and were ready to descend to base camp to rest while the top of the mountain gets battered by severe winds. That morning, Topo reported wind speeds of 50km which made for a fun coffee session and a good battle getting the tent packed up. They descend down and had a lovely breakfast in base camp.
Team Progress on Aconcagua Continued…
As of February 4, Topo and Justin are in base camp (4206m) after having acclimatized a bit further. The following day will be the worst day for wind, and then it will progressively get calmer until the 9th. The plan is to head to camp 1 on the 6th to put themselves in position for a summit attempt when the wind calms down.
We’re all watching closely and will update their progress with subsequent blogs.