23 April, 2008

Preparations for Aconcagua

Since my last post, I have identified two major issues I need to address before departing for Argentina. I need to sort out the visa situation, and I need to get to know what I'm getting myself into in Aconcagua. I haven't looked into the visa part yet, but I've done some looking into Aconcagua from books and also the American Alpine Club's web site.

Items I need to address include:
  • Fitness - I need to get my cardiovascular training in. The recommendation is exercise at least 3-6 times per week. This can include regularized running or cycling, with the occasional circuit training or change from running to other exercises (like cycling, rowing, hiking). It's better if it can be done at altitude. But that is not an option for me while I am still in Washington, DC.
  • Gears - I'll need more and newer gears. I am not sure if my pack will be serviceable for a 20+ day expedition that is above 5000 m. I know I will need a new sleeping bag graded for at least - 29 c. I will also need new boots, gators, new flashlight for my head, crampons, and perhaps an ice pick. I'll have to look into if I need a new tent and light weight cooking gears.
  • Insurance - I need a global rescue insurance policy. I'm not sure how much this will cost. But it's likely to be expensive.
  • Guide - I have no death wish. I am an amateur and will need a guide and possibly porters beyond the base camp that is situated around 4000 m. I've found out the mules don't go above Plaza Francia, the base camp. Base Camp Hostel in Mendoza runs tours and expeditions up the Acon. I'm going to give them a ring or email and see how they are. I'll probably end up staying there for my month in Mendoza anyway. I've found a couple other expedition guide service companies in Mendoza and the prices for Acon is usually around USD$1,500.00 - 2000.00.

This trip is looking more and more challenging (physically and financially). I'm assuming that I'll discover more requirements as I move forward with this project, but I've found a helpful Aconcagua expedition guide that spells out some of the training and equipment requirements for a successful ascend. I've a lot of work to do. I'm sure there will be more unforeseen expenses and other areas I need to address before having a go at Acon.

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