January 29, 2010
The challenges for our team began in Mendoza at the beginning of our trip, when one of our team member’s luggage did not arrive! Not the end of the world but a hurdle nonetheless. In the end we got him set-up with something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue!
With the Mendoza chores done we set out to climb the mountain. Everybody was strong and fit and ready to climb. Basecamp was our first goal… Everybody made it although we had to say goodbye to a team member shortly thereafter as some blisters were too nasty to overcome. He’s a trooper and will be back!
Over the next few days we made our carries up through the different camps and had our eyes on the summit the whole time… Summit day – overcast and snowy but manageable… We descended into some weather but nothing the team couldn’t handle and at 12 hours round trip we made pretty good time!
We woke up on the morning of the 25th, packed up camp, and walked the 3.5 hrs down from High Camp to Plaza de Mules (i.e. the basecamp on the Normal Route, which provides for a more convenient exit). We enjoyed the rudimentary pleasures that base camp provided such as pizza, coke, tables, chairs, hard tent, etc… The following morning we traded out our mountaineering boots and attire for trekking boots/sneakers and swiftly dispatched the 16 mile walk out with smiles on our faces knowing that Aconcagua was gracious enough to let us stand on top and walk away safely.
We wrapped up the trip at a nice little restaurant here in Mendoza which, believe it or not, was recently rated 7th best in the world! It did not disappoint. Great steaks, wine and a wonderful atmosphere.
By now most of the team has headed home and the trip has come to a close and we are all thankful for the experience!