Aconcagua 2002!

Dispatch#30 January 20th, 2002.  Aconcagua Base Camp, Argentina. Team IV Hello everyone out there, this is Willi reporting from Aconcagua Base Camp for the Alpine Ascents #4 Aconcagua Team of the season.  We are back in communication after our three day trek in to get to Base Camp and also having to do some emergency repairs on the phone here at Base Camp today.  We had a really good trek in, beautiful walking weather on the first day, kind of cool and partly cloudy, most of us slept out, had a very nice star display at Pampa de Lena.  Pampa de Lena by the way means "firewood flat," Lena is firewood, and Pampa is a flat or meadow or field.  Thus called because of the last good kind of brush stems that arreiros and also military border patrol used to use as firewood while they were going up valley.  We were also walking in in tandem with a small Polish group and three others from the US, also an Australian and New Zealand couple and actually had a lot of fun with them interacting on the trek in.  On our second trek day which was Friday, we had a breezy partly cloudy day that was very good for walking. We actually arrived at camp, our camp is a green grassy meadow called Las Vegas, at about 4pm.  At that point Aconcagua was all socked in by very heavy storm clouds and we just had time to get all our tents set up before rather violent rain and snowfall also lashed us down in the valley bottom. It was quite cold there that night and we could only imagine it was very bitter cold on the upper mountain. Bill was feeling poorly that evening due to overdoing it a bit in setting up camp, on day three of our trek, he learned from that lesson as did everyone else, and we all arrived in very, very good form at Base Camp again amidst afternoon snow squalls.

A very snowy year it's turning out on Aconcagua.  Even our rest day today, we experienced some pretty good afternoon snow squalls, so we're kind of hoping that this weather pattern maybe changes so that we can perhaps see a bit better weather on the mountain. But be that as it may, we can only work with what Mother Nature gives us. A couple of very quick messages:  from Will, for Lisa Kira and Erin, "Good luck on your final exams, miss you and love you.  And also from CR to DP, "Thinking about you cant wait to be with you."

So that's all for now, tomorrow we'll actually be doing a carry to Camp I and we'll see how all that goes, especially how it relates to the weather and we're planning on getting a bit earlier start than normal to try and beat some of the afternoon snow squalls.

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