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South America, Argentina, Aconcagua, South Face

Aconcagua, South Face. We arrived at Plaza de Mulaz on December 26. We made our first attempt on the normal route up to c.6500 meters on December 31, but returned because of storms and deteriorating weather. On January 3,1997, we summited via the normal route. On January 5, we arrived at Plaza de Francia. From January 8-14, we climbed the south face by the French route and Messner variations. We began climbing at the bottom of the face/buttress on January 8 at approximately 3 p.m. There were very dry conditions in the rocky sections of the route, with almost no snow between 4000 and 5700 meters, so that most of the climbing was on very bad rotten rock. From the big serac zone (5700m to 5900m) we climbed on mostly good snow and ice, particularly on the 30 meters of vertical ice at the serac up to the exit of the upper Messner variation. We found no danger of avalanches. We made six bivouacs, the last one just 50 meters below the saddle between the two summits of Aconcagua. We finished the climb and descended to Plaza de Mulas via the normal route on January 14.

The weather between December 26 and January 16 was fine and very warm except on December 31 and January 7. The team members for the South Face were Germans Walter Hadersdorfer, Hans Lochner, Wolfgang Schulz and Norwegian Petter Georg Stole; and for the Normal Route, Miss Ines Pappert, Ulrich Pfiffner and all members of the South Face team.

Walter Hadersdorfer, Germany