Post 2: Pentintes to Confluenca
Today is a six-mile walk. I stayed in Mendoza last night, and had a four-hour ride this morning to get here. Roi made it in, and it was good to see him. We missed the mule train, so we will have to pack a load to the first camp, six miles away and up 1500 ft. Max said they would help split up the load as my total weight is seventy five pounds. I have a new summit suit and boots that added some weight in comparison to last year. Forecast looks bad – extremely high winds and cold. I rode from the airport with a guy from Denmark back for his second attempt. He was missing his thumb from his first try. We have several days of acclimatizing, and we only need one to make it up and down. I have had a few training climbs with my new gear, but haven’t had it cold enough. I sweated my butt off. I don’t think that will be the case when we get to our high camps.
Met the team, and to my surprise Heidi and Christian that climbed Elbrus with me are on this expedition. We also have another old American named Joe from Texas, Igor and Marta from Poland, Alex and Tatchiana from Brazil, Carol from Germany, Chris from Australia, and my tent mate, Roi, from Israel. There will be more English spoken this year. Max has been on a nine-country climbing spree sanctioned by the National Geographic Society. After this, he will be on a lecture tour. He is very thin and lost a lot of weight. Edu and George are back. We have a big group and I am sure there’s more help.
We made it uneventful with it being sunny and warm. We cross the Horcones River on a bridge made for Brad Pitt’s movie, Seven Years in Tibet, which was filmed in part here.
I was a little worried that going from two to ten thousand feet would hurt. Coming straight to the mountain without the extra night at 8000 ft. is a big jump. We had a acclimatization climb from confluencia to the south face, a 3000 ft. up and about ten mile round trip. I took the light daypack and for the next two days I will just use it. The rest of my gear meets me in two days at Plaza de Mulas. We had fifty mph winds and cold in the 30s maybe. I had dull headache from the quick change. We are sleeping in a hut with eight people. It will be warm, but noisy, and sleep will be hard.