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South America, Argentina, Aconcagua

Aconcagua. Aconcagua was the goal of a Polish group led by Andrzej Gardas. Of the 14 members, 13 reached the summit and eight got there twice. Piotr Konopka and Zbigniew Winiarski climbed the French route on the south face in just two days. Anna Skowronska and Ewa Szczesniak made the first female ascent of the Argentine route up the Glaciar de los Polacos on January 25. The best success was the third ascent of the very difficult Slovene route on the left of the south face, done from January 25 to 31 by Leszek Cichy and Ryszard Kotakowski. Because of the cascades of water in the first 1000 meters, they had to make many variants. The rock was murderously rotten and both had minor rockfall injuries. There were UIAA difficulties up to V + and ice up to 90°. Five climbed to the summit and back from the Plaza de Mulas on the normal route in a single day, a difference of 2760 meters or 9055 feet; Cichy and Konopka did the round-trip in 13 hours. With so many ascents now being made of Aconcagua, there are many cases of high-altitude sickness and frostbite, leading in some cases to tragedy. Dr. Anna Skowronska persuaded an American to turn back; he was suffering from obvious cerebral edema and yet was continuing to crawl toward the summit. On the summit lay the body of an Argentine whose German companion did make it down, but with severe freezing injuries. Expert climbers Spaniard Felix de Pablos and Frenchman Dominique Radique died on the south face on January 27.

Józef Nyka, Editor, Taternik, Poland