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ACONCAGUA – Day 7 December 28, 2006

Posted by Jason in Aconcagua, Argentina.
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Move from Base Camp (4,200m) to Camp 1 (4,900m)

Our last decent meal before relying on our rations, breakfast with Aymara. We sort out gear we will not need for the climb and arrange a payment for part share in a mule for US$45, for 12Kg of gear to be sent back down to Puente Del Inca.

We pack up and are ready to leave for Camp 1 by 10am. Unfortunately we weigh our packs before setting off and realise that I am carrying 28kg and Cheryl 24kg!

Cheryl on her way over the morraine to Camp 1

We say our goodbyes and start the slow plod up to Camp 1. Up the moraine to the scree slope and then across the Penitentes. Chezza has it tough again up the scree and is struggling with the weight of her pack, but she copes well. We are lucky with the weather again and the wind is light and it is sunny and clear. We continue up the moraine to the foot of the steep snow slope of Penitentes and rest before climbing this final section to Camp 1.

Jason on his way up through the Penitentes    Penitentes with Aconcagua in the distance    Cheryl ploughing through the large slope of Penitentes before Camp 1

The view ahead is fantastic up to the Polish Glacier and the col above. The day is very clear and gives us magnificent views.

We pass 3 people on the way up the Penitentes that had summited the day before, the first people we have met that have actually done so, fantastic! Needless to say they were very pleased, but it gives us all hope that the conditions higher up the mountain are getting better.

We reach the top of the Penitentes at about 2:30pm, only 4 hours and 40 minutes to climb to Camp 1 with a full pack when it took us over 6 hours 2 days ago.

We head over to our stash of food and fuel and notice a familiar figure, Geoff. We camp near our stash near to Geoff´s team.

Our site at Camp 1   Looking down to Camp 1   Sunset at Camp 1

We rest in the sunshine and chat to Geoff. The others in his expedition are on their way to Camp 2 for acclimatisation. Geoff started off this morning with them but turned back at around 5,500m because he was feeling tired. His Guide had told him that if he did not make it to Camp 2 today he could not go to the summit! A ridiculous notion as we are all acclimatising at different rates and has no bearing on a summit attempt. Geoff was a little despondent and had decided to return to base camp and call it a day on his expedition.

We immediately asked Geoff if he would like to join us, as we have a much slower acclimatisation schedule worked out. Geoff said he would think about it.

The view from Camp 1 is pretty spectacular looking back down the valley we had climbed in the previous few days. We are amazed at how clean the camps we have seen so far are. We have heard horror stories of the state of the camps on Aconcagua but so far on this side of the mountain the sites have been well kept, clean and pretty quiet. I hope the rest are like this.

A brief visit by the helicopter at Camp 1

Again we have an early night, settling into the tent as soon as the sun goes down as the temperature drops quickly. Tomorrow is a carry to the “col”. Another hard day.

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