Firstly, apologies for the radio silence. I’ve been busy doing all the sorts of activities that I would normally blog about, but alas the nomadic nature of the training I have been doing, coupled with a winter-induced malaise, left me with big ambitions but an inability to deliver the many posts that I have been storing in my head.
My training is now complete for Aconcagua, and I am now sat in my staging area (formerly my spare bedroom) surrounded by some of the best kit I could get my hands on. The newest additions to my arsenal is a new sleeping bag from Peter Hutchinson Designs, with a comfort rating down to -35c, weighing in at just 1.5 kilos. I was also persuaded to replace my broken Exped Downmat UL 7 with an Exped Downmat 9 featuring an integrated pump, as I had experienced practicality issues trying to inflate the UL 7 with the provided inflation bag on previous expeditions. I have also splashed out on a Powermonkey Extreme, which during limited testing so far has proven to be most useful.
I’ll be reusing my Millet Everest GTX boots, which I am hoping to patch up from my Denali expedition with some Black Witch Neoprene Glue.The scuffs are from a crampon misplacement and from abrasion when I fell into a crevasse. (Side note: how I have managed not to pen a blog post about that?!)
Clothing-wise I shall be reusing most of my expedition clothing, literally sewing up holes in some of my kit. For the lower mountain I have bought a pair of Montane Terra Stretch pants. Lightweight, windproof with useful ventilation zips, these should suit the variable conditions further down the mountain. I’ll be reusing my glove layers – building up from Rab Latok gloves, Black Diamond Mountain Guide Gloves and Outdoor Research Alti Mitts. I’ve been recommended to replace the silk-weight merino gloves I used to wear with cheap and cheerful Extremities Thinny Gloves which are less prone to ripping at the seams or finger tips (as happened with the former). I have purchased a pair of the Scarpa Kinesis Tech GTX, which is closely related to the Scarpa SL Activ but featuring GoreTex fabric rather than leather.
I’ll be reusing my Mountain Hardwear BMG 105 rucksack, possibly taking a lightweight day pack, existing Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite (complementing the new Exped DownMat), a newer model Petzl Nao with upgraded 575 lumen output, existing Patagonia Black Hole duffel, North Face duffel bag and hydration system.
I have tested most of my kit out over the last few months, particularly in the last one month where I have spent time in the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District and North Wales. With a bit of luck I’ll get round to posting about some of those training trips shortly, but for now my sole focus resides with packing for departure in less than one week.