Aconcagua 2002!

Dispatch#27 January 16th, 2002.  Penitentes, Argentina. Team IV Hello everybody out there, this is Willi Prittie reporting from Penitentes Argentina.  We're about to begin the first day of our trek in to our Base Camp at Plaza Argentina on the east side of Aconcagua.  Last night and this morning we finished preparing our mule loads for the trip into Base Camp.  We'll be day hiking with day packs and we have about 740 kg of supplies and equipment food etc that will be going in with us.  A good part of that is of course is fresh fruit and vegetables.  It's a very important part we feel that we have very good nutrition and very good food to help maintain health and also to assist in the acclimation process. So that's all done and we're looking  in just about 5 minutes we'll be leaving and starting our hike in.

One note of information if anybody out there that is following this website and planning on doing their own trip.  After the devaluation of the Peso down here, things are changing rather rapidly economically.  Other than the banking system it really isn't total chaos, life is pretty much going on like it always does down here.  But we actually did exchange for pesos to pay for our Park Service permits.  The Provincial Park is trying to keep it pegged to the dollar, they charged the official rate now of 280 pesos which is 1.4 pesos per US dollar.  We actually exchanged money on the street at 1.73 which ended up saving us about $500 almost on a full group for permits.  So it's definitely something to consider when you come down to save a bit of money and things in general are quite a bit cheaper in Argentina than in previous decades.  So this is the final update until we actually do get to Base Camp on Saturday and we're really looking forward to getting out and getting into the mountains, and starting on what promises to be a superb expedition with a really great group of people.  That's all for now from Penitentes Argentina. 

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