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ACONCAGUA – Day 12 January 2, 2007

Posted by Cheryl in Aconcagua, Argentina.
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Move to Camp 2 at the foot of the Polish Glacier (5,830m)

The wind has been high and gusty again all night.  It´s getting a lot colder too.  The water inside the tent is full of ice.  Despite not wanting to get out of our sleeping bags we decide we must brave the high winds and push on to Camp 2 today anyway.  We make hot drinks in the porch of the tent, have breakfast and pack our rucksacks inside.  The wind is very strong outside, so we want to do as much in the tent as possible so that when we get out we only have to drop the tent and stuff it into our packs.  It´s quite a mission to get the tent down without it blowing away.  I sit on it while Jase rolls it up.

At the top of the slope just below Camp 2, Cheryl and Geoff tackle a small snow and ice section

We begin the painstakingly slow plod up to Camp 2.  By the time we reach the snow fields we have to cross, I´m feeling utterly exhausted.  The altitude is a killer and it´s difficult to get your breath this high up.  My pace slows even further.  I´m going so slowly and taking such long breaks that I´m barely moving at all really, but somehow just keep putting one foot in front of the other and get there eventually. 

Geoff and Cheryl on a small snow section    Cheryl takes a breather    View across the ice tarn at camp 2

I´m feeling awful (this becomes a theme) by the time we choose our campsite and start putting up the tent.  It´s also extremely cold.  Bending down, moving big rocks to anchor the tent and tying the guy ropes makes us both feel faint and dizzy.  It takes over an hour to get the tent up and properly secured.  It´s freezing and I dive (OK, more of a slow stagger really) into the tent while Jason goes to find water.  He´s gone ages and eventually comes back looking ashen.  He´s had to walk to the foot of the glacier a good distance away to find a trickle of melt water coming off the ice.  He says he nearly threw up on the way. 

Jason cooks in the porch as I feel lousy.  We have tomato soup and pasta which we can´t finish.  We´re trying to eat all of our daily rations as otherwise we have to carry them and we also need to keep our energy levels up, but it´s becoming increasingly difficult.  All our food seems highly unappetising.

In the night I wake up with a pounding altitude headache.  It feels as if my head is going to explode.  Jason is coughing badly and sounds like he has fluid on his lungs that he can´t shift.  The temperature is -7 in the tent and everything that isn´t in our sleeping bags with us has frozen solid. 

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