La montana nr Mendoza

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Friday, January 19, 2007

3 FRANKS
Respite comes in the form of reduced humidity and tree lined avenues.An ingenious network of irrigation channels supports these living parousels. The water comes from decomposing snow and ice far away in the high mountains that enable mendoza`s existence. the hectic bustle of the capital has been replaced by a mellower ambience.. BA was a lot of fun once you get over the mid afternoon heat induced brain dysfunction, stop bimbling round in circles and get yoursef under a cold shower. What`s fun ,you may ask, about a busy city 35C+ and humidity. Well , a lively mix of nationalities, jaw droppingly beautiful argentinian girls round every corner, huge slabs of juicy tender dead cow with only 4 quid seperating them from your stomach, fantastic parks teeming with activity, night clubs with no roof bizarre water feature were you watch the sun rise on skyscraoers,architectural brilliance colonial and modern,18 lane highways and more.
Now however all there is is dry stony scrub and a total lack of shade as I trudge along with a dwindling water supply. Most vehicles on the track are full or not going all the way. I'm headed for the Cordon el Plata. here can be found a host of peaks that can be climbed without technical equipment.One of the peaks is called pico Franke
they range in height from 3.5km to the mighty el Plata at nearly 6km. The next 5 days are a recconisance trip with the plan of summiting some of the lesser peaks .
    My water supply dwindles. The need for shade grows. There is water but it is down a steep thorny ravine which won't be fun. Then round the corner an oasis appears . Easy access to water and shade. Its occupied by an argentinian family barbecuing some ribs . Make friends and eat the best ribs of my life. Hand them some of my swiss chocolate.The son is also a franko.Thats 3 of us . your normally lucky to get one. As they say the best things come in 3s. Refreshed and revitalised I continue up the track. The heat and lack of sdhade start to wear me down. The only campsites are really shit. Then salvation, a pickup pulls over and i'm in the back.There are a couple of frenchies in the back. Fail to comunicate and write them of as the arrogant stereotype. Truck drops us of at a cluster of huts. From here it is about an hour to Las Veguitas (3200m) the base camp area. Laugh at the french as they pick a shit route and end up having to cross three streams. I only cross one. (actually meet them  again on my way back to mendoza and there sound ( must whatch my assumptions.)

A mixture of altitude , heat and my bad condition means i'm staggering about like Ozzy by the time I finally reach the campsite. Food and sleep is good.

Next morning rain and thunder keep me in my nylon coccoon. Have a liesureley breakfast and wonder why I'm here. Just settling down for a siesta when the weather clears. Motivation soars . Walk up the valley to try and find the route up a little (4000m) peak.Cloud returns and spirits drop. then they lift again but soon I'm pissed of with the shit nature of the climb. It's loose scree that moves down when you stand on it . Much frantic scrambling and traversing raises my altittude but winds me up." what am i doing on this shit". Ther's no trees or interesting geology. The only reason to be here seems to be the chance of height gain.Much struggling later I'm on easier ground but the target is still far away and its getting late. Decide I'm not interested in anymore of this scree crap and scramble up to an outcrop.Looking down on cloudss and across to Pico Franke's long ridge iI gain some inspiration and the mood lifts. Skiless ski back down the scree which is fun. Chilling back in my tent decide I am having fun but it is hard won up here. Start to doubt my fitness as i seem to be struggling more than i think i should.

Next day is much better. good trek up a ridge. lots of scrambling and meet a couple of Argentinians. Get some good info on other treks in the area. Summit Cerro Ignorando at 3800m my highest peak so far. ( have crossed passes at 57000m but thats different.) Lack of fitness seems to have diminished so I blame the last couple of days on altittude.

Am back at ten t early so decide to do some Spanish. Sadly my disc 4 mp3 is missing.Disc 5 begins with a revision of the past ppresent and future tenses of verbs covered in disc 4 . Which is missing.This could be tricky. Have just learnt what the imperative is when there is a loud noise otside my tent. Shit cows. Zip up and hide inside. Not much scares me. Cows however appear to be my nemesis. Had to dive over a fence to escape a charging herd of fresians once. Cows kill people see ;
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/09/26/ncows26.xml or
http://www.safetynews.co.uk/we190605/Cows.htm
any farmers like to give me some advice?

One of the most terrifying times of my life was the bull in the mist incident. I was trekking in North Spain. Had to camp on a pasture . Full of cows. terkked across it to find a rocky knoll where the cows couldn't go.was fine till i spotted an odd cow. Odd in the fact that he was twice as big as the others and appeared to have 5 legs. He was about 500m away and didn't seem bothered. Why should he be, he had about 80 girlfriends and noine of them were giving him any grief for his infidelity.AQnyway found a safe place to camp and pitched up. Next morning woke up to mist and 10m visibility. I had to get back across the pasture . But where was the bull. 500m between me and him was fine. 10m would not be cool. Try and sit it out to see if the mist will lift. it isn't. so i set of taking temporary sanctury on any large boulders i find and shouting for help. Which obviously isn't going to come.Horns loom out of the mist but its only a cow. Make it across safely. enormous relief etc .The mist doesnt clear for days.Maybe you had to be there.Anyway concentration broken i bin the spanish and write this. the cows thyey just at some grass and moved on.
Next day is cool long tough climb with snow s hower and much hard won fun. Limits pushed , record height gain (1400m fromm 3200m)Can't be bothered to write up check the vids. Reconaisance trip sucessful. get good lift saVING ME THE LONG WALK BAACK . bACK TO MENDOZA THEN OF TO bA. COMING SOON THE THREE AMIGOS.
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