Aconcagua 2002!

Dispatch#40 January 29th, 2002.  Mendoza, Argentina. Team Canusa Hello friends family and followers of Alpine Ascents' Canusa expedition on Aconcagua.  This is Allen giving you the latest updates from Mendoza.  Yes we have all returned safe and sound and now we are enjoying civilization with all of it's fine amenities.  

After summiting by 1:30 in the afternoon on Aconcagua, we were able to descend back to our high camp, break it down and then continue to our Camp III. This is a great achievement, many expeditions simply don't have the endurance to do this, but given the exceptional ability of our team members we were able to do so.  We reached Camp III before high winds swept the mountain.  The next day we were able to make it back to Base Camp, rest up a bit and then enjoy a fine meal prepared by Ellie, our Base Camp manager.  The following day Matt Szundy and myself, inventoried, food, equipment and supplies for our next expedition.  We prepared a fine pizza dinner, vegetable salad, cheesecake dessert and a little polenta for Colin, his favorite meal on the mountain.  This was also Carter's 24th birthday and we all wished him well and hoped that he is able to someday become an adult or at least act like one.

Now we're all back safe and sound in Mendoza feeling sunburned and searching for the fine cuisine that we all enjoyed up on the mountain, something that was comparable to our "just add hot water" food.  Several of us went to the shopping mall to take advantage of the great exchange rates and others just simply lounged out by the pool.

I have for us what many of the expedition members considered their most memorable moments.  So I'll quickly summarize these:

Jorma believed that his bivy out at Casa Piedra was his most memorable moment, able to see the Magellanic cloud and the southern cross.  Christine thought that crossing the Relenchos River and executing a desperate lunge river crossing was her most memorable moment, where all but her boots escaped the deep waters of the Relenchos River. Ed believed that scrambling over the summit rock and seeing the cross on top of the mountain was his most memorable moment.  While Carter though that getting up on summit morning and watching his frozen breath fall onto his lap, realized that "this is it" this is the big day, the culmination of seven months into a mere seven hours.  Colin believes that wishing Carter a happy birthday in the tent in the morning with his video camera in hand was also a most memorable moment.  For myself, well let's just say that the team did play a magnificent joke on me.  While I opened one of our equipment barrels, I was very much surprised to see the leg of a guanaco - pretty gross.

Let me just say that this team was exceptionally fit, we got together and climbed the mountain in very good style, simply one of the strongest expeditions I have ever been associated with.  Everybody had a wonderful time and looks forward to being back at home with their family and loved ones.  So for now this is Allen signing out, stay tuned for the next expedition with Alpine Ascents on Aconcagua.


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