Travel Report from the Andes: Aconcagua – January 6, 2001
My attempt to climb the highest mountain in the Americas (6960 m) was unfortunately unsuccessful. After a period of good weather from December 28, 2000 to January 6, 2001, which we needed to acclimatize to the high altitudes, the weather changed. On the next four days we had bad weather with a mountain storm (over 100 km/h), snow and cold (under 40 degrees). This meant our time reserve was over and we had to begin the descent and return trip.
We had to break off the first peak attempt on January 7 at 5800 m. The second on January 9 came to an end at 6200 m on account of the storm and cold. We then once again descended to 5800 m and once more spent a night there in order if possible to be able to exploit an improvement in the weather on the next day. But it was hopeless.
Since we were in peak condition and had adapted very well to the height, it was not easy for us to give up. But in these heights nothing can be forced. It was my first time in the Andes. It is a fantastic landscape (if you like mountains), hardly any vegetation, interesting geology and with the changing position of the sun a new blaze of colors every day. The mountain is not technically difficult via the normal route; but apart from fitness and altitude acclimatization, the all-important factor is the weather.