Aconcagua - Rainier - Squamish - Washington - Liberty
ACONCAGUA; The approach, Day One

I traveled for 34 hours by plane and automobile from my home in Montreal to be standing at the foot of Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina. This was the beginning of the next two weeks of my life. The trek from the entrance of the Relinchos valley up to Base Camp took three days, with an elevation gain of 5000 feet. We had perfect weather for the approach. I had used mules to carry part of my gear (mainly food) up to base camp, situated at 14,000 feet. This would save me precious energy for higher up on the mountain. We were only a two-man climbing team and thus quite agile. We moved quickly from one camp to the next. We packed as light as possible; every piece of equipment was carefully thought out, right down to our tent; which just barely fit 2 grown men sleeping head to toe. All the gear would have to stay outside of the tent! We made it a point however to eat very well during the climb; lots of soups, pastas and proteins, and also puddings and Pringles…

We had to cross the frigid waters of the Relinchos River in the cold mornings during the approach, and then had to put lots of sunscreen in the afternoons where the temperatures would rise to nearly forty degree Celsius. We met several climbing teams along the way, from many countries. We would swap information about the mountain, the weather, and climbing stories in general. It was a great interaction with people that we didn’t know personally, but who all shared a common goal.

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