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ARGENTINIAN TIERRE DEL FUEGO – 4 Day Trek – Paso De La Oveja January 28, 2007

Posted by Jason in Argentina, Patagonia, South America, Travel, trekking.
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Day 1 – Laguna Encantada

The Taxi finally dropped us off at about 1pm and we were hoping for a short day. The sun was still shining. The fourth day in a row of 20C heat, unheard of in Ushuaia!

Jason cooking the lomito!! Cheryl at the start of the trek to Paso de la Oveja Chez tucking in!
We got to the river after 15 minutes or so where the Lonely Planet trekking guide states there is a “shallow wade across the river”. The river is infact quite fast flowing and over your knee!

After drying off we headed up through the forest and followed the stream steeply up hill until eventually coming out at a meadow, and after a further 10 minute walk we reached the Lake.

The scene was beautiful. A wonderful corrie, with the lake at the bottom. Cliffs striding into the sky and peaks surrounding us.

A waterfall cascaded down into the corrie from a hidden lake above us.

We walked halfway around the lake to the west and set up camp.

We would have the lake to ourselves tonight watching the sun go down. A beautiful wild camp site.

After Aconcagua we were determined to improve our rations for trekking in the future, so tonight was Lomito night! Steak sandwich!! Fantastic!

Day 2 – Cerro Esfinge and Laguna De Los Tempanos

Chezza…after complaining she did not want to climb another mountain again….EVER!! Decided that she wanted to stay put today at this camp site and climb Cerro Esfinge which rose steeply from the corrie floor opposite from our camp site.

Jason on top of the first peak with the Beagle Channel behind Ushuaia below Cerro Esfinge and the Beagle Channel Jason pondering above Laguna de los Tempanos

So we set off at 9am and headed up the long scree slopes. It was extremely steep and arduous. We were camping at 550m and the peak reached a height of 1,275m. As we climbed the weather began to turn, the wind got stronger and the temperature dropped.

After 2 1/2 hopurs or so we reached the top of the first peak and the steep towering pinnacles that we could see from our camp site. We continued on for another 30 minutes or so before reaching the true top.

The views were spectacular, 360 degree vista of glaciers, snowy peaks and the Beagle Channel and Isla Navarino to the South. No one else to be seen, just a beautiful view.

We descended back to our tent for an afternoon nap and then climbed the ridge behind our camp to view a higher Laguna, Laguna De Los Tempanos which was another 200m above us.

We initially retraced our steps back down the meadow to the forest looking for what the Lonely Planet describes as a “Descreet Path “. Which we later discovered is LP speak for a path that does not exist! We made our way over the ridge up an extremely steep scree slope(with protests from Chezza!!) and finally saw the beautiful Laguna. With a Glacier down to the waters edge and a beautiful corrie.

The views today were superb.

Our feast to end the day was Argentinian Chorizo Sausages. . . I´m in heaven!

Day 3 – Turbera Valle Andorra and across the Paso de la Oveja

We were up early, 6am to get an early start so that we could do 2 days trekking in one day.

Down the forest back to the valley floor, we immediately took a wrong turn!! However, as luck would have it the path cut time off our journey as we found a rickety make shift bridge across the river making another river crossing unnecessary.

We made our way into the forest and followed an “intermittent” path through the forest and up the valley. (intermittent – being a Lonely Planet term for a path that dissappears!Regularly!!)!

The heavens opened and rain poured on us for several hours.

Eventually we reached Arroyo Del Caminante and the end of what should have been a days trekking.

Staying a day at the lagoon meant we were running out of time to complete the trek. And unusually we had no emergency rations so no extra days food.

We continued up the river and reached a clearing above the tree line where the path forks between the Pass and Laguna Del Caminante.

We decided to carry on over the pass and try to complete the 2 days trekking. We climbed steadily up the pass and the weather took a turn for the better and revealed fantastic views to the north to snow capped peaks and Glaciers.

Patagonian peaks looking north Chez going over the pass Cascading waterfalls into the valley
We continued up to the top of the pass where we managed to get a view of the valley dropping away to the South as the cloud began to clag in. Beautiful waterfalls cascaded down from the steep hillsides into the valley below. It was a wonderful sight.

As the wind began to pick up we followed the cairns own the otherside of the pass hoping to find the idyllic campsite mentioned in the LP. Unfortunately we went too far and began crossing the steep scree slope and traversing it down the valley. When we realised we had gone too far it was…well kind of too late!

So with a bit of lateral thinking we went straight down into the forests below to try and get to a clearing we had seen at the bottom of the valley. We knew there was an alternative path alongside the river so it shouldn´t actually add too long to our last days walking.

The slope was extremely steep and very arduous to descend but we made it to the bottom and then bushwacked through the trees to the clearing. Unfortunately most of the “clearing” was infact bog, and very wet. But eventually found a place right next to the river to pitch the tent. As we put up the tent, the heavens opened and rain lashed down.

We finally got into our tent for 8pm to cook dinner. We were needless to say both knackered!!

Day 4 – Canadon De La Oveja to Ushuaia….the walk out

We again woke fairly early because we weren´t quite sure what the LP trek guide would throw at us next! The route down the valley is described “It is very boggy and scrubby in places, though generally quite pleasant going”. . . . . mmm!

Chezza in the mud…..again!! Our improvised camp across the pass!    Tierre Del Fuego National Park
Well they got the “boggy” and “scrubby” bit right. The pleasant going I would have to take issue with!!

Bearing in mind we were camping on the exact spot the path was supposed to be and you couldn´t see it gives you an idea of how “indistinct” it could get!

Anyway after about 2 hours of extreme bushwacking, wading through bogs and mud and hardly being on anything I would call a path at all, we finally found the proper path coming down from the scree!

From there it was easy going gradually down the valley with views to the Beagle Channel.

The sun came out to greet us as we reached the edge of the trees.

The LP´s instructions were to go “South West”. We were most perplexed and finally realised that the path actually went south east and then east!

Finally we reached the road after negotiating some angry looking dogs through ramshackled buildings. We flagged down a taxi and back to Ushuaia.

A beer most overdue was had! This was a superb trek!

CHE Who?……who is this guy we met in the pub? January 28, 2007

Posted by Jason in Argentina, culture, Patagonia, South America.
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We were minding our own business having a few beers in ushuaia when this geezer started talking revolutionary ideas to us.  All we wanted was a beer!

Who was this guy? He looks kind of familiar.

Che who?

USHUAIA – The Southern Most City in the World! January 27, 2007

Posted by Jason in Argentina, culture, Patagonia, South America, Travel.
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Finally, after 6 days “recovering” in Mendoza, drinking fine wines and eating Bife De Lomo, languishing in a 3 star Hotel and soaking up the 30C heat we finally made a move to Southernmost Patagonia. . . . . Ushuaia.

We managed to get a quick flight to Buenos Aires, then a nightmare night in the airport waiting our “connection” on to Ushuaia!  The Argentinians havn´t heard of “seats” at the airport, so unless you managed to bag a seat and stay in the only cafe open it was a kip on the floor.

The flight was largely uneventful other than a bit of turbulance as we realised that this area of the country has significantly more cloud!.  The final moments of the flight were spectacular as you come into land at Ushuaia. The snow capped mountains and tree lined valleys are beautiful and give you a taste of things to come.

We soon realised it wasn´t going to be 30C heat here, as the rain lashed against the Airport terminal windows!  It was a bit silly travelling in short T shirt and sandles after all!!

The cold greets us in Ushuaia!

Ushuaia really has an “end of the world” feel to it and the people are so friendly. There are pleasant places to eat and drink, cafe´s and notably the “Dublin” Irish bar is excellent.

On our travels in Tierre Del Fuego, we stayed in 2 excellent Hostels, most recommended. Aonikenk Hostel where Hernan looks after the place and is incredibly helpful and friendly, and Yakush Hostel on the corner of the main San Martin Street where it meets Pierdrabuena. Both were excellent.

While here we managed to take a 3 day visit to the National Park Tierre Del Fuego. We stayed at the organised camp site at Lago Roca and did 2 day walks. One to the top of Cerro Guanaco where the views are spectacular towards snow capped peaks in the west and the Beagle Channel in the East and South . And sendera costera, a trail that takes you along the coast of the Beagle Channel where we then took a boat across to Isla Redonda and back to the mainland. Again this was beautiful.

Other must see´s in Ushuaia are the Museo Maritimo De Ushuaia. Superb history of the penal colony and of the maritime explorations in the area. And Glaciar Martial, where you get excellent views over Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel.

The only slightly disconcerting aspect for “the Brits” here are the many signs regarding “Malvinas”. Many stating that “they(the Argentinians) will be back”! And that the islands have always been Argentinian and always will be! Many stickers and posters commemorating and almost celebrating the anniversaries of the War in 1982.

Malvinas was ours…is ours…will be ours etc etc….blah blah!

I perhaps did not expect such a full on expression of feeling in such an open manner. However, there was never a hint of bad feeling expressed towards us at any point by the locals. Ushuaia is a very hospitable place.

Ushuaia is a great place. Most people come here as a jumping off point for Antarctica.  Thats out of our reach though….$3,000 to $5,000 is not in our budget!!  . . . . . . . Maybe next time!

The Vines of Mendoza January 13, 2007

Posted by Cheryl in Argentina, culture, South America, Travel.
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Wines of Mendoza

Yesterday we made a great discovery! The wine tasting rooms of an organisation called The Vines Of Mendoza where you can try a selection of the fifty finest “boutique” wines of the region. “Boutique” meaning wines from small wine producers.

They also have a plot of land outside Mendoza where you can buy a small section of between 4 and 12 acres and produce your own wine. You tell them what grapes to grow and what processes to use to produce the wine and they do the rest. This is genius! In case you were wondering what to get me for Christmas……….

As you can see we´re beginning to recover from the trauma of climbing Aconcagua, so we´ve decided to look at moving on at long last. It feels like we´ve been in Mendoza for an age, so it will be great to have a change of scenery. We´ve booked flights about as far south as you can go in South America, to a place called Ushuaia in Tierra Del Fuego. The great thing about this is that there are no mountains!! Or only very low ones at least, nothing more than 1,500m in height. I think I can just about bear it!

We Did It! January 10, 2007

Posted by Cheryl in Aconcagua, Argentina, climbing, mountaineering, South America, Travel.
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At the summit…. in the absence of the South African flag, this ones for my adopted land…

Part of me can´t believe it! We actually managed to get to the top of Aconcagua!! I was utterly amazed and burst into tears as soon as I saw the metal cross marking the summit. This I think was more out of relief than anything else – Jason was talking about making a second attempt a couple of days later if we failed the first time. I couldn´t have faced it!! It was the hardest thing I´ve ever done. We set out for the summit at dawn (about 6.30am). It was bitterly cold and for the first hour or so I was trying to nurse some feeling into my toes by wiggling them between steps, this despite wearing huge plastic boots (like ski boots) and 3 pairs of thick socks.

It was much warmer when the sun hit us later on, but I was still wearing absolutely every item of clothing I had brought to the mountain – 7 layers on my top half including a down jacket the size of a duvet over everything else.

It was an eight and a half hour slog up the mountain. The altitude affects you in an unbelievable way. We were literally taking about 5 steps a minute (one every 12 seconds, or so!) and still had to stop and rest often!! It was unbelievably slow.

Anyway, we´re back in Mendoza now, but feeling utterly exhausted. Will write some more detail when feeling up to it.

ACONCAGUA – Day 19 January 9, 2007

Posted by Jason in Aconcagua, Argentina.
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From Confluencia to Mendoza. . . . . . . at last!

It feels like we have been on this bloody mountain forever!  After our aborted attempted walk out yesterday, we have to make it today!

We are up early, 7am and skip breakfast, trekking by 7.50am.

It only takes 2 hours to reach the rangers station at the park gate at the foot of the Horcones valley.  Thank God!

We arrange via the ranger a lift off the agency Aymara who arranged the Mules for us.  This cut out another hours walk to Puente Del Inca.  We pick up all our bags from them and have a drink in the local cafe.  A shack that sells empanadas!

We catch the 11.45am bus back to Mendoza.  No hiccups, it goes on time and we finally say goodbye to Puente Del Inca and the Vacas Valley.  Our final sight of the mass snow slopes of Aconcagua as the bus descends the valley.

After a sleepy 4 hours or so we arrive in Mendoza.  A steamy hot city in the middle of summer.  We say goodbye to Geoff, who we will meet for a well earned slap up meal and beer tomorrow night, and we catch a taxi into the city to find accommodation.

Finally we can relax and afford ourselves a few days in a hotel with air con rather than a sweaty hostel!

We both have the longest showers in history, the first in 19 days!!  Believe me, we needed it (especially chezza!) then down the pub for a night I cannot remember!!!

We done it!! 

ACONCAGUA – Day 18 January 8, 2007

Posted by Cheryl in Aconcagua, Argentina.
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We didn´t sleep very well last night, all the pizza was sitting rather uncomfortably in our stomachs. Proper food being a bit of a shock to the system!

We packed up the tent and handed in most of our gear which we´d arranged to be sent back down by mule. It was hot and we weren´t carrying much apart from an extra fleece and some water. We anticipated that the walk out to Puente Del Inca would take about 6 hours – how wrong we were! After 6 hours we were nowhere near even Confluencia which is at least 2 hours to the road.

Although you drop about 1,000m in altitude between Plaza De Mulas and Confluencia, you lose altitude so slowly it´s painful. We walked for hours along a flat open river bed having to ford the river several times which delayed us further. We were all pretty tired from the summit day and the adrenalin was starting to run out.

Playa Ancha
It became clear that the walk to Confluencia was going to take at least 6 hours on its own. It takes 6 hours going up and we´d assumed it would be much quicker going down. There was no way we were going to make it to the road today. This was somewhat worrying as we had no supplies having sent all our food, sleeping bags and tent down by mule.

Luckily, we were able to secure bunks in one of the big fixed tents at Confluencia, hire sleeping bags and buy dinner which was something of a relief! But the shower I was looking so forward to was going to have to wait another day!

ACONCAGUA – Day 17 January 7, 2007

Posted by Jason in Aconcagua, Argentina.
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From High Camp “Colera” to Plaza De Mulas Base Camp at 4,300m

We wake after 8am, dehydrated and very tired, neither of us want to move! We can´t quite believe that we did it! And now we can get off this bloody mountain!

Slowly we muster enough energy to put a brew on with the little water we have left. The tent is a real mess! Some of my clothes are frozen solid after being covered in snow when coming down from the summit.

Chezza ia absolutely knackered! But has recovered well from last night, she was totally exhausted when we got back to the tent yesterday.

Eventually we get enough energy together to get out of the tent and wake Geoff. He is also pretty exhausted. Reaching nearly 7,000m has really taken it out of all of us. The important thing now is to get off this mountain as quickly as possible! We are all thinking of Bife De Lomo and bottles of wine!!

It takes us until 1pm to pack everything up ready for the way down.

But going down is a lot easier than going up!! The packs are very heavy and we are still carrying over 5 days food with emergency rations.

We bypass Camp Berlin and head down the steep scree slopes to Nido de Condores the traditional Camp 2 on the Normal Route.

The view on this side of the mountain is fantastic and far more open than on the Vacas Valley route. But the view of Aconcagua itself is less impressive. What was so amazing on this side of the mountain was how many people there were. The volume of people was tremendous. All snaking up the zig zag paths to each camp.

The West Face of Aconcagua

The atmosphere is also completely different. On the Vacas Valley route people chatted to each other and wanted to know who had summitted and what the conditions were etc, in order to prepare for the next leg of the climb. It was like a family atmosphere. Here however it was completely different. People either looked like they had just stepped out of an outdoor shop boutique or had clearly never walked further than 100m from the nearest road before! Quite bizarre!

The expeditions are far larger on the Normal Route and the camps far less clean. After speaking to people who had stayed at Camp Berlin our worst fears of the Normal Route were confirmed. Berlin appears to be a dirty and unhealthy camp with people not even stepping more than a yard from the refugios before urinating. Berlin Camp is a living toilet!

Nido de Condores did not look too bad, and the view is amazing. We rested here awhile and then continued on down the steep slopes to a litle used camp between camp 1 and 2 called “Alaska” camp. A few oddly arranged tents are here, but it is also a massive junction where paths converge and there were many people here. As many as 50 at any one time on this area of the mountain.

Here we glimpsed our first sight of Plaza De Mulas, the Normal Route base camp at 4,300m way below us at the bottom of the valley. The view here is amazing with hanging glaciers and ice slopes leading to knife edge peaks.

After another rest we head on down the steep scree slopes. The path here is terrible, steep scree and most uncomfortable whether going up or down. We are carrying over 30kg and slipping and sliding down scree slopes is not good for our knees of ankles!

We go past Camp Canada (Camp 1) and continue down. Both Chezza and I fall on a number of occasions hurting various limbs! We just want to get down, we can smell the beer!

Finally, at 6.30pm we cross the final section of Penitentes and reach Plaza De Mulas! Hurrah! We are both knackered. We find a pitch for the tent and sort a meal with base camp services Aymara. Geoff joins us within another half an hour!

Plaza de Mulas
We have the best pizza in Argentina for dinner! And eat as much as we can. We have hardly eaten anything for 2 days. We share a few bottles of wine with 2 South African guys we met on the summit slopes the day before! It´s a small world!

At 10.30pm we are bushed and call it a day. Thank God we are back down the other side of the mountain and on our way out.

Can we make the road head tomorrow??

ACONCAGUA – Day 16 SUMMIT DAY!! January 6, 2007

Posted by Jason in Aconcagua, Argentina, climbing, mountaineering, South America, Travel, trekking.
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SUMMIT DAY! Aconcagua 6,962m

Getting ready at daybreak

The alarm went off at 4:25am, and gradually we crawled out of our sleeping bags and began putting on the copious amounts of clothing we needed for the summit bid.

Other than the odd gust of wind, the weather was calm.

We put on a brew and I woke Geoff. We then checked our bag of water to see if it had frozen and luckily it hadn´t. So we had our 3 litres of water each for the day.

After final packing we were finally ready to set off at 6:30am. It was just getting light and the sky was clear. there was barely any need for a head torch.

We started from high camp 5,970m up the slopes to join the Normal Route 100m or so above.

Although the sun was rising, it does not shine on this aspect of the mountain until much later and it was very cold. Within 30 minutes I could hardly feel my toes, and the top half of my body was also getting very cold.

I had to try and go quicker in order to keep warm and try to make it to the other side of the ridge to get in the sunshine to try and warm up.

We finally reached sunshine after about 90 minutes or so to both Cheryl´s and my relief, but I wouldn´t feel my toes again for several hours.

Early morning en route to the summit

The path passes over a ridge and past Piedra Grande, an isolated point where some people camp above 6,000m, using it as their high camp. It is in an exposed location and the site is sloping. We were glad we´d decided to camp at Colera rather than here!

We passed this and the point where the higher False Polish Traverse route joins the Normal Route and we gradually followed the zig zags up the slope.

Geoff had fallen behind by now but was only about 30 minutes behind us. His altitude plod was just a little slower than ours but most effective.

We passed a group of people who were retreating. We don´t know why, either the altitude or maybe the cold forcing them back.

Eventually, after struggling up the slope for some time we rounded a corner and reached a col where there is a small ruined wooden hut. This was Independencia. It was a relief to get here, we were now around 6,380m and well on our way. The sky was clear and the weather looked good. Still very cold, I was feeling in good spirits.

It was at this point Cheryl was starting to feel the altitude and began to slow. We rested for a while before carrying on.

After a rise of a further 50m or so we reached another col and crossed to the west of the mountain and caught our first glimpse of the traverse slope to the dreaded Canaleta scree slope.

It was so cold here we had to put on our final layer of clothing, our down jackets.

We began the traverse over this loose scree slope which gradually became looser underfoot and far more difficult. Unluckily for us there was no snow on this slope at the moment, it would have been a lot easier to cope with if it had.

We continued up the slope and Cheryl began feeling worse. Light headed and nauseous. She was feeling very tired.

Eventually at around 12:15pm we reached the end of the traverse and the cave at the foot of the Canaleta.

We rested for a while and Cheryl took her pack off and left it in the cave to be as light as possible. We had asked someone on their way down so we were pretty sure there would be no snow between here and the summit.

Looking back down the Canaleta

At 12:30pm we started up the Canaleta. An extremely steep slope of scree and boulders, 2 steps up and one sliding back, most frustrating at 6,700m.

This slope was a constant struggle and was far worse than the accounts we had read! The air is so thin here, only about 41% of the oxygen at sea level. Every step was exhausting.

Very slowly we continued higher up the slope and finally rounded a corner onto a rocky ridge. We rested here. Cheryl was feeling a little better where as I had deteriorated a lot. I felt nauseous, light headed, exhausted, had a headache and was periodically retching. I did not feel good!

A large group behind us began turning back, but we continued up the ridge to the rocky outcrop on the skyline.

Slowly, taking about 5 steps a minute, along with a lot of stops for rest, we gradually continued up the ridge below the skyline.

As we got nearer to the skyline and the rocky outcrop the cloud began to envelope us and the odd flake of snow began to fall. We continued upwards until we reached the outcrop and began to round it and climb to its edge. Then a few steps more and we were on the summit!

Jason flaunting the flag at the summit

The relief was amazing, so exhausted we couldn´t believe it! I can´t explain the feeling of elation and relief. 16 days on the mountain and finally we were at the summit.

Unfortunately, the summit was covered in cloud! We managed to get the occasional glimpse of the view and occasionally saw the ridge of the south summit as cloud swirled against it.

It was a fantastic feeling!

We got to the top at 2:50pm and spent 25 minutes at the top. We took many pictures and then headed down at 3:15pm. The snow started falling in earnest and we were told by an Argentinian guide we met that the weather was on the turn and we must get down as quickly as possible.

Moody view of the South Face shrouded in cloud Happy at the top of Aconcagua! The only brief view we got from the summit

We headed down the Canaleta, which was almost as slow as going up with the tricky terrain.

When we got to the cave at the bottom we rested and picked up Cheryl´s pack. We then met the Argentinian guide again and he was on the radio to a ranger on the mountain. He told us that our “grandfather” was in trouble and was waiting for us at Independencia!!! It took us a while to realise they meant Geoff!

The last time we had seen him was on the traverse to the Canaleta and he had been around 30 minutes behind us.

We rushed down the slopes as quickly as we could as the heavens opened and it began to snow harder.

When we got to Independencia no one was there. We continued down as quickly as we could.

Eventually, we saw a figure just getting up from the ground on the final slopes down to the camp……it was Geoff!

We thought he might be in trouble, but when we caught up with him he was fine!

He had walked down with the Park Ranger and was fine. He had been exhausted at the foot of the Canaleta and had waited for us for a while but then continued down.

We all walked into camp in the snow absolutely exhausted.

We slumped into the tent and made some soup before going to sleep.

But we did it!! What a day!

Click here for more photos…

ACONCAGUA – Day 15 January 5, 2007

Posted by Jason in Aconcagua, Argentina.
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Rest Day at High Camp “Colera” 5,970m

The sun does not hit the tent this side of the mountain until 8.35am and so remains very cold until late in the morning. It was -8C in the tent last night, freezing much of the water we had.

The day is perfect, very little wind and clear on top, a perfect summit day! Has our decision to have a rest day and not to go for the summit been the right one?

Once the sun comes up the temperature inside the tent actually becomes pleasant and we have a relaxing morning rehydrating ourselves and resting, praying for the weather to hold for another 24 hours.

We have a wander round the camp again and the view is spectacular across to the west, north and east. The Andes mountains seem to go on forever, a very dramatic backdrop to a very dramatic camp site. We are nearly 100m above Berlin, the traditional top camp for the normal route and we can see people snaking slowly up to this camp with many tents erected. In contrast we have this campsite to ourselves today! A beautiful spot.

At 12pm we begin our chores for the day and begin melting snow and sorting gear for the summit push tomorrow. We need water for the day as well as at least 10 litres for tomorrow for Chez, Geoff and myself. We are all worried about the amount of gas it takes to melt all this snow. You only get about 100ml from a litre of melted snow! Today we use about 2 canisters.

Chezza melting snow on our rest day Geoff´s spot for a bivy at Colera The snow field we take our snow from for melting

We worked out the rations of gas based on possibly 4 to 5 days of melting snow for 2 people if the weather clags in. But of course there are now 3 people to melt snow for with Geoff. I know Geoff is worried about the gas situation but we appear to have plenty left. We still have 9 complete canisters left.

The weather on Aconcagua is a ponderous enigma. The wind is little but picking up after 3pm. To the north and east there are large storm clouds building up and climbing into the sky, covering the mountain ranges. To the west, no clouds at all, just slight haze and sunshine. We SHOULD get our weather from the west, but as the day goes on, grey snow clouds clag in from the east, clinging to Aconcagua´s slopes and we have the odd flake of snow. But for the most part it is still sunny.

Jason´s had enough!!  Even melting snow is tiring!

After melting snow, our chores done, and equipment sorted, we gather in the tent for hopefully our last dinner on the mountain!

We retire to our sleeping bags with our clothing, plastic inner boots and water bottles with us in our sleeping bags! Not much room!! We have 10 litres in Ortelieb waterproof bags between the sleeping bags hoping that they will not freeze.

Views from Colera A view from Colera Views from Colera

We try to get an early night hoping for good rest before a dawn start at 6am. Unfortunately, for Chez and I, we get little sleep. A cross between excitement and nervousness keeps us awake. We are constantly listening out for the wind. Every gust that hits the tent could signal a change in the weather. To successfully summit we need a quiet day with little wind. The temperature drops to -9C in the tent!

Have we missed our weather window???!

View from Colera