We drove to Penitentes it took us about 4.5hrs. We had one pit stop the same place where some shots of Seven Years in Tibet was filmed.
Before reaching the hotel we dropped our bags to be weighed before loading then on the mules tomorrow. We won’t see our gear until the first camp tomorrow. We have our daypacks with water, sunscreen, glasses, jacket, gloves, etc…
We are all looking forward for our last decent dinner, before we head tomorrow for 15km trek to camp
We landed in Mendoza about 2pm, we were greeted by Mathew one of the guides who will be climbing with us. Drove for about 20min to the hotel. So many flash backs from the last time I was here. From the shops, restaurants, main street even the room. I stayed in a room very similar to the one 2 years ago.
At 4pm we met the whole group, mostly from the US, and one from the UK and one Austrian. We had our gear check, basically took out all our gear and lay them on the ground to make sure we are not missing anything and not to over pack. As we will be carrying all the loads base camp and above.
our group dinner we at 8pm, so we had some time to kill. Walking around town checking out the small shops at main street was very interesting. Closer to 8pm we felt really tired so decided to load up on caffeine. picking a nice cafe, we sat and were discussing what are our missing gear. As soon as Ziad went to grad something from the counter leaving his phone and my camera on our table our waiter told us that there were a lot of pick pockets in the area to be careful. Anis quickly took the Camera and phone and kept them in his pocket. When Ziad came back Anis gave him my camera and his phone, Ziad straight away put the phone in his pocket. leaving the Camera on the table just for a few seconds. A kid wearing Barcelona’s jersey came up to us trying to sell some kids books, it took him 5 seconds and left, our waiter came back and checked that all our stuff are with us. We assured him that everything is fine until we realized that the camera is gone! that kid was fast Ziad, Anis, and the waiter tried to chase him. With no luck in finding him.
Whats a mountain with no action
We headed to dinner the same restaurant we went to 2 years ago, had an amazing dinner. We bonded with the group more who will be our new family for the next few weeks. then headed back to hotel to call it a night.
the next day 22/12/12 we woke up 5:30am to begin re sorting out gear and dividing whats going where. Headed for breakfast at 8am, then to get out park passes. You have to get a park pass to be able to climb the mountain.
Luckily this time we were the first people there, and didn’t have to wait in line.
We leave Mendoza to Los Penitentes at 1pm, we are just wating for Raed to arrive, get his pass then we will be off. The drive will be about 3-4hrs to a very modest hotel where we will spend the night before heading to the gate tomorrow. Before arriving to our hotel, we will drop our loads that will be carried by the mules. We will only see our gear again when we reach camp.
Lots of excitement in the air, we try to write again tomorrow otherwise I will be doing the voice blog.
We landed in Buenos Aires after 19hrs of flying, 14hrs to Rio 2 hour connection and a 3hr flight until BA. Leaving the airport was very smooth, headed to our hotel which was half way between the international and domestic airport.
We had our amazing authentic Argentinian steak at La brigada. Before crashing for the night.
Being jet lagged we all were awake early in the morning. Had an amazing breakfast and headed to the domestic airport to fly to Mendoza where we will meet the rest of the team.
Now we are all checked in and waiting to board our delayed flight. Hopefully won’t take a lot of time. At the mean time we are enjoying amazing Argentinian coffee with dolce de leche brownie desert.
Raed on the other hand is still stuck in Indianapolis where his flight got canceled. The earliest he can arrive in mendoza is noon tomorrow. Most probably he will head out directly and meet us in Penitentas.Read More
All set and ready to takeoff. Myself, Anis, and Ziad boarded flight EK247 to Rio which will take 14hrs layover for 2hrs in the airport the fly Buenos Aires which will take another 3hrs that’s a 19hr total!
We will spend the night there before heading to the beautiful city of Mendoza where we will meet the rest of the team.
I am very excited to meet the people I will spend the next 3 weeks with. We will be stuck together all the time. It’s always very interesting finding group dynamics especially we come from all over the world.
Now it’s time to stretch my legs and get ready for my long flight.
In four days I will be facing Aconcagua for the second time, 2 years ago I had to turn around only 200m from the summit (3hrs climbing) after spending 3 weeks in the mountain, many months training hard because of bad weather. I have to admit back then I did not have the experience to know what to wear and how to put on some of the gear, which wanted time in the morning gearing up. Not to know what to wear, and the fear of frost bites I put on many layers I didn’t need, which caused me to over heat thus made me very slow on summit day. I missed my summit window by 1hr; if I were a bit faster a bit more experienced I would have summited 2 years ago. But I wasn’t.
This experience made me stronger in many ways I cannot explain, every time I am on a mountain now I remember how it felt to turn around so close from my goal. This pushes me harder and harder and I always give it my 110%. I am now more focused than ever to climb it this time.
I heard amazing news from Garrett (our guide) he just summited with amazing weather. I pray for good weather and health on the mountain for with out one of them climbing any mountain is impossible.
By now I am trying not to push very hard in training, and concentrate more in doing lots of stairs and spend as much time as I can in the Altitude Chamber at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club. I fear risk of any injury that might affect my climb. I am also set in terms of gear, packed all the equipment, gear, clothing, favorite sweets (gummy bears).
ROTA have been very generous in sponsoring to document my climb, and hope you will all experience my climb, and what it takes to climb. I am excited to do this and looking forward in giving it my best shot.
Aconcagua, is a mountain with many faces, situated near the Argentinean/Chilean border. It is almost 7km in altitude is often underestimated which has resulted in serious injuries, mostly on the normal route. The extreme cold, stormy winds and altitude make this mountain a seriously challenging. Standing at 6,962m it makes Aconcagua the highest mountain in the Americas and the highest mountain outside of Asia.
Traditionally there are three guided routes on Aconcagua: Route Normal, Polish Variation, and the Guanacos Glacier Route. I will be taking the Polish Variation route. It is on the East side of the mountain and less traveled which makes us enjoy the wilderness in climbing it is also a much more beautiful approach.
I will be traversing the mountain and go down the normal route. The trip might take up to 24 days depending on weather and other factors in the mountain.
It has been a while since my last post, I was preparing for my next climb, which will take place in two weeks. This time I’m set to climb my 5th of the 7 Summits Mount Aconcagua 6,962m. I have previously attempted to climb Aconcagua but had to turn around at 6,700m only 3hrs from the Summit due to extremely bad weather. I have been training really hard for my comeback, ran marathons, train in altitude chambers and lots and lots of stairs with heavy a backpack.
There are 4 of us going from the region:
Mohammed Al Thani Qatar
Raed Zidan Palestine
Anis Tabka Tunisia
Ziad Al Sharabi Palestine