Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cordon del Plata

I decided to take a 5 night side trip in th emountains while i wait for Steve to arrives as i finished well ahead of my origional schedule .

I went camping at 4200 m in the Cordon del Plata ( cord of silver) mountains .

Litlle did i know that the weather was going to turn and even th elocals were very suprised at the sudden storm that brought hail , snow and rain .

I stuck it out at camp Salto ( 4200 m ) and on the second last day with a a clear sky but a few inches of snow on the ground  i trekke dup to camp hoyyado ( 4600 m ) with 4 others who had stuck it out at Salto .

Nestor , Lucas and there freind were going to try fopr peak vallecitos (5300 m) , richard ( no me ) was going to see if he could get to 5000 m and  i was just going to tag along until at least hoyyado .

At hoyyado i decided to turn back as i was th eonly one wearing new ballance running shoes with home made wire crampons and i thought my toes were going to fall off .

Richard offerred to come down with me but i said i would go it alone and my crampons worked like a charm . ( they eventually fell to pieces th enext morning but had served there purpose.

below are a few photos with captions .

Nestor examining my tent at first camp ( las vegas) at 3200 meters

thats where i am heading 

A cross at Piedre grande ( big stones) at 3600 m 

nice a misty at Piedre Grande 

My tent in the foreground and the other Richard whom i met on th emountain in the back ground 


not so cloudy 

Arrival at Camp Salta  4200 m 

weather looks like it might turn , i dunno i am not a expert .

and turn it did , wind , hail , snow and rain all in one night , this  was the paterrn for the three nights at salto

Loving it 

My home made crampons that would get me to hoyyado at 4600 m 

every body who was in camp salta including a priest , straight after this picture they all descend except fotr 5 of us 

more crampons , the guys in camp loved them .

At camp hoyyado 4600 m

mucho snow

me in my proffesional mountain gear .

Sh....t my toes are cold ...brrrrrr

what a view 

Changing weather

 Cordon del Plata  at camp salto

this is how fastthe weather can chnage , thisis real time , ( file is quite big  ).

not sure how thisiwill work out as i have never posted a video before

Monday, February 4, 2013

Reaching the mountain

while reading this 


So after  a great time with Anna and Giles in malague i headed off for El Sosneado after which  i had a section to do of about 170 km with the first half having no peopel or farms or water so i sytocked up well . I met a english couple at El Sosneado , dave and sarah , they had just finished the route 101 and said it was pretty tough on bike but for me the second half would be ok as there was water and a few farms just after half way .

Slogging through the desert

DAve and Sarah at El Sosneado
Th egoing was tough butit was good , the frst night i just camped next to the road. The wind hwled and sleeping did not come easiñy , i got up a few times in th enight and went out to look atthe starts and the sky , it was amazing , the constellations were out in full force for my viewing .

next morning as i put my hand out my tent something made me look , and i am lucky i did as i was surrounded by nasty looking scorpoins , about 10 of them were around my tent and pram , how i had not stepped on one in th enight during my start gazing i willnever know .
Scorpoin swaiting outsside tent
 Sunrise the next moring was as spectacular as any i have seen as th esun rose just behind an unknown volcano , it took my breath and i have about 100 pictures of the same view .
Sunrise on route 101 ( old route 40 ) 

Any one have a drink ?
 It turned out to be a pretty hot and cloudless day so i felt every ray of the sun all day as i worked my way through a 60 km day . I eventually reached teh half way pòint at La jaula by the rio Diamante and stopped at a house for water . I was treated to so good country hospitality and given pasta and tea for lte lunch .  i eventually left at about five and found a willow tree next to the road about 8 km on and camped there for the night .
Carlos and his brothe rat La Juala

Skipping ahead a few days i was on the road from San jose to Potorelios when it started to rain and it poured .
i got to a river which had flooded the road , it was only just below knee deep at the depest point but flowing quite strongly across the road so i decided to cross and it was not so bad , the pram got tugged abit by the flow but not to sserious .

After crossing a car arrived from the opposite dorection and a french family stopped and the driver and i had a discussion about if his little car woul dmake it or not , I had seen no othe rtraffic all day so did not have a referenc epoint of rhim .
Eventually we both agreed that if it was our own cars we woud not try crossing however his wasa rental car and had insurance so he would give it a go .

Three hours later we eventually managed to get his car out of the river and back to where he started as he had got badly stick within a few metere of entering the water .
nice road hey

Phew made it
I camped that night on the roadside outside a farm house , the farmer did not seem to mind that i had camped outside his gate and it gae me a sense of secutrty knowing that some one was close by , i must be getting soft ..:)

Life took a turn for the more stressful after Potorilios as i now had to follow route 7 to my final destination at Aconcagua . At least two and a bit days away .
Route / is teh internation l highway between  Chile and Argentina and the traffic was a night mare .
big trucks and buses zooming by with in inches of me .

I stopped at  river rafting company in the middle of no where and the owner said they all left at about 7 in th eevening but i was welcome to camp and use the showrs and the pool . so I had a good rest before heading for Uspallata the next day .

I had a call from an argentine number and was suprised when it turned out to be Anna and Gilles . I had left a coule of notes on route 101 for fun and they had found them and were just phoning to say hi and see how things were .

En route to Uspalalata i met Alesandro , he was complaining about the traffic as much as i was , . He had cycled tis route in the 90´s and said it was awesome them conpared to now .
  i had to pass through 14 very noarrow tunnels on route 7 ,  some were only  50 or 100 m so i waited ofr a gap in th etraffic and ran my heart out to get through before the next truck came barreling along .

I wa son about the 8th tunnel where i was in th etunnel and traffic arrived , it was not fun , not fun at all .

After that i started find ways around the tunnels by using th eold tunnels or the old railway track tunels but some of these would be blocked at the exit end  but it proved quite an adventure finding ways through .
Using the old road and the railway tunnels
 I spent my last night before aconcgua at Los Penitites and camped out side a hostel .
i was infuriated by tthe hostel owner , Martin , who had quite clearly told me that it was 15 peso to camp , thisi s very cheap but considering i was caming on stones and thorns i was happy to paty it ( most camping is between 20 and 40 pesos ) . how ever when it came time to pay Martin insisted that he had said 50 and not 15 .  i decide not to argue and jsut let it go but it left  bad taste in my mouth , this and on my ñast day . f..cker !!
My swiis friends
 on Th eup side i met a swiss couple who we busingthere wat around south america and a few other countries in the world and they were good company and kew alot about the area . i enjoyed the company and let my frustrations with Martin go .

Next morning i set off for the last 12 km , I went fairly sowly and had tears in my eyes when i got my first view of the mountain , the mountains that i had seen up until which i had thought may be aconcagua , were not butnow i was certain and it was spectacular .
I paid teh 10 pesos park fee for a being allowed to the rangers hut and proceeded the last 1 km up the hill .

It was a far cry from th efanfare finish i had had at Kilimanjaro and I really was completely alone in my finish .
I group of three guys from Europe asked what i was doing and they all gave high 5´s when i told them i was done .

i t was  coincidental that i had staretd my journey in Africa two years ago with a Rob , Rob Korb and i had started this journey in Ushuaia with a Rob as well , Rob Thiesfield .

i woud be finishing both Journeys with Steve 

I was done , I mountain climb to come is a bonus , suceed or not its gonna be awesome !!!

Finished , happy , doen , relieved , Aconcagua behind me !!

Final vist to a columbia store in Mendoza , they have ben awesome
The support i hve recieved from thse around me over the ast three months has been awesome .

To everyone who helped along the way thanks you .

SAM has been my star all the way . 
Love you lots SAM