Well, we finally had a complete phone conversation with the guides, after several very broken up attempts on the satellite phone. The entire group is back at Base Camp, luxuriating in the warmth and thick air, and eating pizzas. Jared continued descending because he had symptoms that indicated a possibility of an altitude related illness, and the best medicine for those is descent.
It sounds like summit day was a long, tough day, with lots of hard snow that really taxed the crampon skills of the team. As we learned previously, Fermin, Jim and Dave all reached the top, with Joe arriving just below them after a long, hard push up the difficult Canaleta. The Canaleta is a gully that is full of loose rocks and is strenuous in good conditions. The climbers worked very hard to get above it.
Belinda, Sam and Kim all reached a spot called “The Cave,” located at about 22,000′, right at the base of the Canaleta. They elected to call that their high spot, and Agustin remained descended with the three of them.
It sounds like it was a very hard day of climbing, and everyone is to be congratulated for their extraordinary effort.
They plan to spend the night in Base Camp and will hike out in the morning. The hike out the valley is about 16 miles and takes about 6 hours. It can be pretty straight forward or it can be really challenging with tricky river crossings. We’ll get the full report of their descent after they get to the trailhead.
Great job everyone!!!