Jack Strickland called in from the second camp on the hike into Base Camp, a spot known as Casa de Piedra, so named for a rock hut that was constructed long ago by herders and, quite possibly, smugglers. Today’s hike was another eight mile day up the Vacas Valley, following the east bank of the river after crossing it on a birdge about a half mile out of their previous night’s camp.
The valley is very deep, but it becomes increasingly narrow as the the team approached Casa De Piedra. Casa is located in a quite wide stretch of the valley, with glacially braided river channels twisting across the flat bottom. Here, it is evident that glaciers first carved these valleys, as it has the classic “U” shape, testament to the thousands of feet thick ice that carved is millennia ago.
Tomorrow, they will cross the river on horesback, saving themselves from a chilly dip. They will leave the Vacas Valley and enter the Relinchos Valley, which begins as a very narrow and steep defile. As they climb up the valley, it too will broaden into a glacial valley and their destination, the Plaza de Argentina Base Camp, is situated among a moraine of an old glacier.