Allie Pepper, avid mountaineer and Mont Ambassador, has just returned from an ascent on the highest mountain in the Americas, Mount Aconcagua, standing at 6965m.
Allie used the popular Mont Icicle Jacket and new Main Range sleeping bag both complete with Hydronaute XT Fabric and Durable Water Repellent Down.
She was kind enough to write this guest post before her next climb, a fundraiser for the Australian Himalayan Foundation’s ‘Quality Education Program’.
I have just returned from my tenth expedition guiding on Mt Aconcagua 6965m, the highest mountain in the Americas and one of the seven summits. I had a small group of clients, just three women, which made the trip a lot of fun. We circumnavigated the mountain by firstly heading up the Vacas valley to Plaza Argentinas Base Camp then heading across the mountain and to the summit on the normal route, then back down to Plaza de Mulas and walking out the Horcones Valley. This was a great adventure!
Once again I used Mont down products on this expedition and they were awesome. I have the new Mont Main Range sleeping bag and it was comfortable even at the high camp of 6000m. Temperatures got down to around minus 20-25 degrees at night but I often actually couldn’t zip the bag up as I was too warm in it when I wore my thermals inside! The DWR down is fantastic as it does not hold moisture. During the night we would breathe out a lot of condensation in the tent which would ice up the inside and make the top of the sleeping bag very wet around my face. It never however went flat and cold due to this. The down always remained puffy and warm which was of much annoyance to my tent mate as she did not have a bag of such high caliber. One of my clients Kylie did however purchase the Nemo for the trip and was not disappointed! The other girls were quite jealous of our bags and warmth the entire expedition, especially when they had to sleep inside their bags in their down jackets!
I used my Icicle Jacket once again and it came into its own on summit day. I also recommended Katie buy one as she did not have a down jacket before the expedition. The hood was fantastic along the coldest and windiest section of the route in the morning as it completely blocked out the wind, with just our goggles showing. The jackets were very warm and I love the pockets that are easy to put mitts in and also small water bottles. I highly recommend this jacket for the climb and it is very warm for its weight, especially with its baffling which ensures the down is thick all over and has no cold spots.
The reason why I went back to Aconcagua this season was to train for the expedition I am now about to undertake, and of course to see some old friends and take some new ones on an awesome mountain adventure! Next week I head back to Nepal for just over two months and my main objective is to make an attempt on Lhotse 8516m without the use of bottled oxygen just with Dawa Sherpa and not in a group. I have previously climbed Cho Oyu 8200m in 2007 without using oxygen however on Everest and Manaslu I ended up using it. I much prefer to climb the best and purist way possible for me so Aconcagua has been good training for this trip. When I was guiding Aconcagua regularly I climbed on Cho Oyu and felt much stronger up high because of that. As I won’t be using oxygen however I will be a lot colder so I will be testing out the new Mont Expedition 8000 sleeping bag. Given how well the new Main Range worked I am pretty confident this will be reliable. Firstly though I will be guiding the Everest Base Camp trek for one of my sponsors and their mates, then I am off to acclimatise on Kyojo Ri and Pachermo before I head to Lhotse, a couple of 6000ers in the region. During this time I will be using the Mont Icicle Jacket probably almost everyday!
As part of my ongoing support of the Australian Himalayan Foundation’s ‘Quality Education Program’ I will be raising money for the kids in the Lower Khumbu Region of Nepal. This area is below the Everest region and is where most people come form that work on trekking and climbing expeditions. It is my way of giving back to the community as they have helped my Himalayan expeditions be so safe and successful.
Please support my climb by making it more meaningful and donating to my charity, any amount helps. They are a registered Australian charity so therefore tax deductible.
You can also follow my progress at my Blog and on my Facebook page.
A huge thank you to Mont for their support of my endeavours and for supplying me with such high quality gear that I can trust my life to!
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This week’s jaunt saw me in Tasmania’s north and west spending some quality time in our magnificent Myrtle Beech forests. The first stop was Upper Quaile Falls, a place I had not visited before. Despite the track in leading through some previously logged forest, there were still some magnificent trees to be seen and the falls had plenty of water.
Back to the car and onward to a location west of Cradle Mountain, the Vale of Belvoir. This area was purchased by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy in 2008 and consists of a limestone valley roughly 10 km long by 2 km wide. Lying at an altitude of 800 metres it is Tasmania’s only sub-alpine limestone valley.