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ACONCAGUA – Day 9 December 30, 2006

Posted by Jason in Aconcagua, Argentina.
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Move from Camp 1 (4,900m) to the intermediary camp “The Col” (5,400m)

Today was supposed to be a rest day, but we all felt pretty good and Cheryl wanted to make more progress on the route while the weather was good.  So with Geoff´s agreement we decided to move camp to “The Col” today. 

No rush though and we take our time having hot drinks and breakfast and see the other guys off on Geoffs expedition as they head to Camp 2.

We don´t move until after 11am and start the haul of gear up to “The Col”.  Today I am feeling the weight of the pack soon after leaving camp and feel quite tired.  We are all moving a little slower than yesterday but not by too much, we are still climbing at just under 200m an hour which is respectable.

The haul up to the Col, Camp 1.5   Jason on the way up to the Col with cliffs on the eastern slopes of Aconcagua   Resting with a view down the valley, looking back to the Vacas Valley

The scree slope up to “The Col” seems to go on a little longer than yesterday. 

We reach the top of the first Col in reasonable time and we stop for a bite to eat.  We bump into a couple of the Romanian guys we have been shadowing up the mountain, we seem to have a similar schedule.

Then we make the final 120m climb to the second Col and our camp site.

We all find this final section rather tiring and alot tougher than yesterday. We arrive at 3pm.

Camp site at “The Col”, we have this part of the mountain to ourselves!    Cheryl collapses at the Col!!    Cheryl collapses at the Col, finally reaching our campsite!!

We all collapse in a heap pretty knackered! We rest a while before we put up the tent. There is still little wind but we know that this spot on the mountain is quite exposed and we need to anchor the tent firmly. It again takes over an hour to sort the tent and all the bending down and lifting of rocks and stones does nothing for your head at altitude.  By the time we are finished we are truly knackered!

Chezza and Geoff head off to the water source, a good 10 minute walk(at least!) which is an arduous task at this altitude.  Every effort at 5,400m is a major effort. Cooking a meal or even just eating it becomes a major undertaking and takes time and effort.

Cheryl going on the long walk to get water, the Col camp is behind   Geoff at the water source, glacial melt water   Storm clouds gathering over the Polish Glacier of Aconcagua

At night the thought of unzipping your sleeping bag and sitting up to take a sip of water becomes a major act.  You lie awake for half an hour or so to decide you have the energy to drink!  Sounds pathetic but it is that tiring to do anything.  So to fetch water 10 to 15 minutes away involves major effort as does almost any action at this altitude.

We get to bed at 9pm tonight.  It gets to -3.5 in the tent, the temperature is gradually getting colder.  It is now getting more difficult to stop the water bottles from freezing in the tent.  We have to sleep with more and more of our gear, batteries, cameras and water bottles to keep them working.  The wind picks up and is far more aggressive, buffeting the tent at times.  We have a lightning storm.

“The Col” Camp 1.5

We have the camp site on the Col to ourselves, which is nice.  

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