Aconcagua is one of those peaks that many individuals dream of climbing. The tallest in both the Southern and the Western Hemispheres with its 6,962m, it comes with oxygen levels that are 60% lower than those at sea. This, along with the heavy loads you’ll be carrying, as well as the weather which is hard to predict, makes climbing it a true challenge. Let’s explore some things that’ll help you make this a reality. Check over here for even more information on this topic.
Mental Strength Is Important
While there are many other factors that go into your success, your mental strength is one of the most important ones. You can prepare for this by making sure you carefully analyze your weaknesses, limitations and strengths. You should make sure that you’re clear on what motivates you to climb this mountain and that this motivation is strong enough to keep you going in the adverse conditions you will be dealing with.
Previous experience with high altitude is a crucial determinant of your success. A great thing to try would be climbing Kilimanjaro beforehand, or giving other peaks in Nepal a try. That’s because the more experience you have with high altitudes, the more you’ll know just how it feels and how you can deal with it. Kilimanjaro’s rate of success for climbers is at about 90%, compared with the 40% of Aconcagua. This means Kilimanjaro is inherently easier, providing the perfect training opportunity.
You will need to be physically apt for this challenge. Start off by making sure that you are healthy and without injuries. Then, continue with cardio training which should be both of the aerobic and of the anaerobic kind. Do this without weights. Strength training is another important part. Concentrate on your lower body and core with this one. Climbing training is the obvious crucial bit, because you will have to hike uphill while carrying 20-25 kg loads.
While you may be excited about the idea of climbing Aconcagua, repress your desire to rush through things. Indeed, rushing this process may just lead you to sustain an injury, which will either hurt or entirely crush your chances of completing the challenge of climbing Aconcagua. With that in mind, allow yourself about 4 to 6 months of preparation time. This is plenty of time to slowly increase the distance and elevation of your hikes.
Your body’s like a car in that without the proper kind and amount of fuel, it will not work, or it will work improperly. Make sure that when you’re climbing the mountain you’re drinking at least 3 liters and that you eat foods packed with carbs. Get plenty of sweet and salty snacks, and consider adding a recovery powder to get back the lost electrolytes. Remember that you can burn up to 10,000 calories when you’re climbing this mountain, so it can be a good idea to eat even when you’re not feeling hungry and drink when you’re not necessarily feeling thirsty.
Proper gear is another factor that goes into your success. If you’re too warm, the climb isn’t going to feel too comfortable, but if you’re too cold, you’re risking too much. Invest in clothing, boots and a sleeping bag that will keep you at that sweet spot. Remember that you will be dealing with temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius, so be sure to bring lots of warm layers.
Know the Risks
While you want to stay positive, it’s important to know the risks you’re exposing yourself to. This way, if anything happens, you’ll know what’s going on, which means you’ll know how to act. In fact, it’s important to talk these things to the rest of your group, because it may be that you won’t be able to help yourself, meaning that you’ll need someone else’s help.
Among the worst things that can happen are cerebral or pulmonary edema. This means that either your brain swells up or your lungs fill with water, leaving you unable to breathe and essentially drowning.
To Hire or to Not Hire a Porter?
A porter is an individual who carries your stuff for you, and you can hire one for the hefty price of $1,000. When deciding whether you need the help of one or not make sure to take into account your abilities and your training and not just the financial aspect. Some people prefer to enjoy the pride that comes with carrying their own loads. Others feel like the climb itself is enough of a challenge and don’t want to risk anything. It all depends on where you stand.
Climbing Aconcagua isn’t an adventure that should be taken lightly, so be sure that you take your training very seriously and that you come well-equipped.