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South America, Central Argentina, Aconcagua, Permission Problems

Aconcagua, Permission Problems. I have much to say about Aconcagua, not so much about the mountain as on the official authorization to get there. I hope that one day such an approach to mountain climbing will be simplified. A number of Americans we met on the spot were not aware of the problems and spent three to five days in Mendoza to get the necessary papers. You must submit the complete names of all climbers with complete names of parents, place and date of birth, occupation, employment data, the name of the expedition leader, the ascent route, indicating day by day the plan of what will be done and the altitude of camps. The climbing experience and duties of each expedition member must be detailed with the date of when each activity begins and ends, as well as the means of providing security to each other and other precautions. A list of personal and team equipment must be presented. In addition to a passport, each climber must have four 4x4-cm identity photos, two full-face and two ¾ right profile on a white background, a medical certificate from your own doctor, indicating the climber’s psychological and physical state and including a recent (within three months) electrocardiogram and blood type. Each of the following steps must be followed and documents obtained in exact order. 1. An equipment check by Luis Alberto Parra of the Asociación Mendocina de Actividades de Montaña, who must by all means be contacted first in Mendoza (Telephone 24 20 03; Guaymallén 5519, Mendoza); 2. a certificate issued by the Fire Brigade Mendoza for the police; 3. (a) a medical check by the doctor, who will require the medical certificate from your own doctor, the electrocardiogram and blood type; (b) police interrogation (about two hours) where you need the four identity photos and other data. Fingerprints will be taken; 4. back to the Fire Brigade who will issue a certificate to take to the Army; 5. a certificate given by the Army to present with all the other papers to the 8th Company of Esquiadores de Alta Montaña at Puente del Inca. Once in Puente del Inca, all the above papers will come to nothing if you don’t pass the physical check by the Army. This consists of taking your blood pressure and pulse before running five times around the barrack square (500 to 600 meters) at the altitude of 2700 meters (about 9000 feet). For this operation provide yourself with light shoes. After this, if it is not meal and siesta time for the Major, you are allowed to go, but not before leaving your passport and a $100 deposit with the Major, who should give you a receipt in case of a control on the way up. We did it without mules, which were too expensive. We left on Sunday, February 10, got to Ejército (4000 meters) on Monday, camped on Tuesday at 4700 meters, Wednesday at 5500 meters (Nido de Cóndores), Thursday at 6000 meters (Berlin), left on Friday at four A.M. and got to the summit at three P.M. We descended to Ejército on Saturday and did the 45 kilometers back to Puente del Inca on Sunday. Not bad for my wife Mireille and me, both over fifty years old.

William L. Marks, Club Alpin Français