The team descended to the bustling city-like atmosphere of Plaza de Mulas, the Base Camp for the western approach to Aconcagua. Thousands of climbers pass through this camp, attempting the “normal Route” up the west side of the peak.
The team did well on the descent, dropping down over 5000′ in about four hours. They were greeted by our good friend Pablo Fortunato, who runs the Grajales Base Camp services on this side of the mountain. Pablo fed them and is arranging for some of the team to fly out the Horcones Valley via helicopter. Weather permitting, this will occur tonight. The remaining team members will hike out the valley tomorrow morning, and the team will regroup in Penitentes tomorrow afternoon.
J.Y. gave the mountain one heck of an effort yesterday, but turned back at about 22,000′, an impressive undertaking. It is hard to emphasize how challenging summit day is on this peak. It is a long, difficult day at an extreme altitude, where every action is a monumental effort.
Great job everyone!!