Aconcagua 2002!

Dispatch#17 January 2nd, 2002.  Aconcagua Base Camp, Argentina.  Team I Greetings to all from Aconcagua Base Camp in Argentina, this is Willi Prittie reporting for Alpine Ascents International.  Just a quick update on our first team of the 2002 season, and by the way Happy New Year everyone.  All expedition members yesterday descended from Camp IV at 20,600 feet to Base Camp at just under 14,000 feet for a good 7,000 foot descent with heavy packs.  You can imagine a few gnarly toes from boot bang and a few numb toes etc, from common cold damage on summit day, but here everyone is now enjoying a warm, sunny windless day in Base Camp.  A special congratulations to both Eric Remza and Lhakpa Rita Sherpa, they did a fine job of descending with everyone, I had actually picked up a lung infection up high and had to climb on summit day with it, and descended immediately to Base Camp after everyone had gotten back to High Camp, once again congratulations to both of them. 

Also a note, Todd Kelley and I made no attempt on the Polish Glacier due to  deep snow and windslab conditions prevailing on the glacier.  While we've enjoyed in general the best and calmest weather in a decade, about every third day, high altitude (as in over 19,000 feet) afternoon snows, have kept conditions very snowy and unstable on the Polish Direct Route.  Therefore there was really no opportunity to make an attempt and no one has climbed the Direct Route probably since late November, or the first week in December at the very very latest.  

So that's all from Aconcagua Base Camp for the first expedition of the season for Alpine Ascents.  We will actually be heading out on an enjoyable three day trek out to get to the highway and return to Mendoza, and we'll give a final update via telephone for the internet from Mendoza, so that's all for now.

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