DEREK MAHON CONQUERS ACONCAGUA, HIGHEST MOUNTAIN OUTSIDE THE HIMALAYA'S
"Qilta – Recovery Socks and Sleeves (RSS)
I had used the Qilta RSS during the triathlon and adventure race 2018 season. I was astonished with the results when used as advised – wear before and after event – and how my feet and calves were absent from any stress, strains, cramping or soreness.
I am an adventurer and high altitude climber having summitted many mountains worldwide including Mount Everest in 2014 and most recently Aconcagua in Argentina South America.
My most recent trip was a real test of the Qilta RSS and how they would react to both a different discipline, the use of different muscle sets at different speeds and of course at altitude.
Let me explain firstly Aconcagua the mountain and climb.
Aconcagua stands at 6,962 meters high which is approx. 23,000 feet. It is the highest mountain outside of The Himalaya. It consists of a number of camps to the summit which for acclimatisation purposes must be reached before any attempt on summit. Those camps are, Penitentes at 2,100 meters, Confluencia at 3,400, Plaza de Mulas (Base Camp) at 4,300, Canada at 5,000, Nido de Condores at 5,500, Berlin & Colera at 6,000 and thereafter summit at 6,962 meters.
My strategy in using the Qilta RSS was to identify the most stressful days and the immediate required recovery day as the ascents and decents are steep, quick and very testing and stressful on your feet, calves and quads. The obvious days were pre and post summit. Summit day was a gruelling 16 hour climb from Colera and return from summit.
But there were days between that required consideration, for example, Confluencia to Plaza De Mulas , 8/10 hour trek while a climb from Plaza de Mulas to Nido de Condores is 6/7 hours but with a gain of a altitude and difficult steep ascents and of course the use of crampons. I had decided to bring 6 Qilta RSS packs and use them as advised, pre and post climb, Confluencia to Plaza de Mulas, Plaza de Mulas to Nido de Condores, Colera to Summit.
How did I find them ?
Well initially they were a source of fascination to my fellow climbers and of course their curiosity in their use, performance and results. The first trek to Plaza De Mulas was tough given the unpredictable and varied surface (Sand, soft mud, loose and fixed stone and rock and rivers). I slept in Qilta RSS at Confluencia and recovered in Plaza De Mulas that evening. On both occasions I wore the RSS as another source of additional insulation within my sleeping bag as night temperature can reached easily below minus 5 degrees Celsius under clear star light skies.
Results – very positive.
The initial fit does I find leave your feet and calves cold but as the lined solutions absorb into the muscles both heat up and recover. Next morning, no aches pains or strains and another very positive recovery result. My fellow climbers were suffering from some cramps and strains which would be expected and normal. The next test was the climb to Nido de Condores which was a gain of approx. 700 meters. Gradients are steep and requires crampons and walking poles. Again the RSS worked very well but I found with the additional altitude the absorption took a little longer which I put against the altitude and the decrease of O2 saturation levels. I gauged this from the time I put them on to the time taken for my feet and calves to warm up to normal. I then expected similar reaction at higher altitude and which proved correct again. However, as said previously, summit day was a very tough and an enduring 16 hour day, but getting back to Colera and having some energy to take crampons and boots off and put on the socks and sleeves, was a motivating factor. Next morning as we climbed out to Plaza de Mulas my feet and calves did feel refreshed but my quads and body to be honest were tired.
The return to Plaza De Mulas was a real welcome as some of the pitches were very steep, unsteady and testing. A beer was had as part of the successful climb and an 8 hour trek out was to look forward to, or not !
Thank you again for allowing me the pleasure in using the Qilta RSS."