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ACONCAGUA – Day 2 December 23, 2006

Posted by Cheryl in Aconcagua, Argentina.
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Pampas De Lenas (2,800m) to Casa De Piedra (3,200m)

Jase and I are last to get up and leave camp (the pattern is emerging already!). All the other climbers we met on this route yesterday are already out of view by the time we´ve packed our tent and set off (so keen!). The day starts off calm and windless but as we walk further up the valley it flattens into an expansive river bed and the wind picks up more and more. Eventually it has picked up to such an extent that it must be gale force and we are walking headlong into it. It´s difficult to walk and the wind has been clawing at my hair for so long that it starts to hurt. We shelter behind some rocks long enough to cover our heads with something.

Eventually see the next camp in the distance and trudge across the river bed to get to it. The stones have been washed down from all the surrounding mountains and they are all different colours – beautiful reds and greens and yellows and blues.

Casa De Piedra

The second camp is called Casa De Piedra which means “House of Stones” and is so named for a rough looking refuge built of stones stacked against a huge rock. Even more rough is the long drop half-way up the hill which has a strip of canvas down it´s front for privacy, but which doesn´t actually offer any privacy or shelter from the wind at all. The wind whips around your ankles and could result in a nasty accident!

Casa De Piedra The Long Drop at Camp 2 Walking along narrow ledge next to river

It´s our first real test of putting the tent up in a strong wind, but although tricky, we manage to not lose any 0f the pivotal parts of the tent to the element. If you did lose anything, you would literally have to go and retrieve it at the previous camp, 7 hours walk down the valley, the wind is that strong. We cook in the porch of the tent sheltering from the wind. At 9pm we´re informed that the muleteers want to leave at 7am the next morning. We´re somewhat miffed as this would mean we´d have to be up at 5.30am to break camp in time and they could have told us a bit earlier. Anyway we decide to not get up any earlier and to rather just carry our tent and sleeping bags ourselves, but it does entail a spate of repacking in the cold and dark in order to rejig our bags so that the mules are carrying as much else as possible.

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