Zach just called in to the office to let us know that the entire team is back in Mendoza, swapping photos from their climb. They hiked out the Horcones Valley yesterday, in a long push downhill from the bustling Plaza de Mulas base camp on the West side of the mountain. Arriving at the trailhead, they opted to drive back to Mendoza, rather than spend last night at the Penitentes resort. This got them into Mendoza late, but happy and feeling some sort of closure, having come full circle on their adventure.
The hike out the Horcones Valley provides a nice contrast to the Vacas Valley that they hike in to the mountain through. The Vacas is much broader, and the geology looks somewhat different, due, in part, to the jumbled creases and mish-mash of the tectonic movement that pushed these mountains up so high (my apologies to any geologists out there for the gross over-simplification!). The vegetation is also a bit different and the sum total of it all adds up to feeling like you are really completing a loop and not merely retracing your steps- which, of course, they did!
Today, the crew will sort out changing their flights, because they didn’t use any of their contingency days on the mountain. They’ll all go out for a celebratory dinner of fine Argentine cuisine and just revel in the warmth and relative humidity of Mendoza.
Felicitaciones a todos!!