Kelly called in from 16,400′ today, as the team settles in to life at high altitude. They packed up their tents, supplies and equipment this morning, shouldered their packs and climbed 3000′ above Base Camp.
The route fist climbed up a rocky moraine (the terminus of an old glacier) before entering into a fairly narrow hanging valley, which widened quickly as they hiked up it. They had some steep, loose side-hilling to do before they hiked out onto an old, dead glacier, covered with an insulating layer of rock. A steep ascent led to their camp for the night.
Aconcagua is notorious for its wind. Climbers often get to experience “freight train winds,” which you can hear coming for sometimes 10-15 seconds or more before they buffet your tent walls. It can be pretty unnerving, but is also pretty cool to experience the awesome power of Mother Nature. To help our sturdy Black Diamond Bombshelter tents stand up to the wind, we build rock walls around them, as in the image below. This will be part of establishing camp at the team’s next two camps.
The plan is to carry loads up to their next camp at 18,000′ tomorrow and return to Camp 1 for the night. Everyone is doing great and spirits are really high among this group!
Here is Kelly: