Thanks to Brad, my music library has been modernized. My first song on the list is an old AC/DC song that is fitting to start the climb. I hope the new songs keep my mind off the pain ahead.
Our team has grown. We now have eight climbers. Lucky for me, three additions are from Israel, Australia, and France, and all speak good English. Roi, from Israel, is now stuck with me in a two-man tent for the next two weeks. He is a very nice guy, and very accomplished climber. The Australian is a seventy-year-old woman that has climbed Everest and five of the major summits. She holds the age record on several peaks. She is back for her second attempt at Aconcagua. We also have a Brazilian film crew with us filming a documentary. There are three women: Ivy, an architect from Brazil, Jen from Brazil, and Lillian, from Australia. Jen and Lillian are both doctors. No one knew each other before yesterday, but it’s funny we have so much in common. The entire team has very experienced climbers. I am the only one that hasn’t been above 6000 meters or 20,000 ft.
We had our safety briefing last night, and had to repack for the different climates. Our big bags will move on to base camp at Plaza de Mulas by mule train at 14,500 ft., and we will not be seeing them for three days. We also picked up crampons and snow and ice gear. I had to get a bigger pack, and will be hauling my gear from 14500 ft. to the top 23,000 ft, dropping caches along the way. I have 55 pounds of gear and will rethink every ounce over the next few weeks.
Argentina has a siesta in the middle of the day, and everything closes. Restaurants reopen at 8 p.m. We ended the night with a large steak. But I didn’t do well converting grams to ounces because I got a 500 gram (17.5 oz) steak at midnight. They are also very proud of their Malbec wine that they serve at every meal until high camps. The only bad thing about drinking is for every ounce of alcohol you drink, you have to drink five times that amount in water on top of the 5 liters a day you are already going to have to drink to avoid altitude sickness.
Ready to start, nervous about how my body will handle the long days and altitude with the loads. I was told the plaza of the mules has Wifi, so another update may come in three days.
Why: Met new friends with similar interest
Best steak and Malbec ever
Why not: 27 hours to get here