Thursday, January 24, 2008

Aconcagua, round 1

Back down from the mountain, everybody safe and sound. Aconcagua is, indeed, both harder and easier than expected - for a tall mountain, involving lots of acclimatization and attention to potential altitude issues, it is intensely non-technical. The carries to higher camps and rest days in between were uneventful, especially since we had great weather. Last year was crazy windy, but this first trip was pretty mellow - only one day of wind and a moderately cold summit day.

I was not able to summit this time around, having brought down two climbers who didn't have the energy to continue to the summit and back. I turned with them at 21,000 feet, which is my high mark, hopefully just until the next trip. My body seems pretty happy at altitude, so I´m looking forward to summiting with the next trip. (And the ones next year, and the next...)

These are just two of several amazing photos lent by one of the climbers on the trip. (Thanks!)

After three weeks with people, I booked a quick (and expensive!) flight to the southern end of the continent and am in Ushuaia, Argentina, for a week or so. It´s not so easy to rent a kayak independently, so I´m headed to Tierra del Fuego National Park for some hiking and may do a kayaking trip early next week before returning to Mendoza. A funny little tourist town down here, but beautiful, with green and water and spiky peaks, a much-needed contrast to the driness of the Aconcagua area. More later...

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