Aconcagua 2002!

Dispatch#13 December 30th, 2001.  Aconcagua Base Camp, Argentina.  Team I Hi this is Ellie Henke, calling in from Aconcagua Base Camp, where we've heard from Willi and Eric with their report for December 30th.  Sorry we're a little bit late with this, because the satellite connections have been a little congested lately.  The crew has completed their move up to Camp IV at a whopping 20,600 feet, and I'm sure that this is an altitude record for most of the group, sleeping at that high.  Willi said that the trip up was interesting, Willi Lhakpa and Todd had gone up to Camp IV the day before to clear out campsites and when they left today to go up, they had blowing snow that had completely filled in the trail that they made yesterday, so they ended up having to plow through the snow all over again to get up to Camp IV today. Their departure was delayed a little bit from Camp III because of high winds, Willi thinks they were blowing at about 30-35 mph, and for a while he almost thought that they would have to abort their attempt and try to move up the next day.  But it turns out that the winds eventually dropped and by 12:30 they were on their way.  They had a little bit of everything on the trip up, sun, clouds, snow, wind and even a little bit of a whiteout for a while, until finally in the evening they had a beautiful windless evening with nice warm sun, so you never know.

Everyone did well on the move up to Camp IV, however there are two people who will be staying the night at Camp III with Lhakpa.  One of them is Todd Kelley who has opted to test his mettle by starting for the summit from Camp III rather than of Camp IV, so he and Lhakpa will be leaving from 19,200 feet in the morning, so we wish him luck on that summit bid.  The other one staying at Camp III is Matthew Gebhardt, who unfortunately has had a little bit of trouble acclimatizing.  He started out on the carry to Camp IV and opted to turn around a little below 20,000 feet, so he will be waiting for the group at Camp III while they go on for the summit, and the group says they will definitely miss him on that, and they'll be thinking of him.   We have one message from Matthew, who says "Happy Birthday to Andrew."  And with that our next report should be from the summit.  That's it from Aconcagua Base Camp for December 30th.

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