Aconcagua - Rainier - Squamish - Washington - Liberty

Base Camp, Day Four

As we approached base camp, looking up the valley, we had a fantastic view of Aconcagua and its summit.  It towers the surrounding mountain peaks. You can see the normal cloud movements obstructed by this great mountain; smashing into its face and rolling over the top.  It was quite a sight. We set up base camp that afternoon, which consisted mainly of setting up the tent, finding water and sorting out the gear and food. Then we could rest through out the next day.  The summit attempt would still be approximately 12 days out. Most people attempt Aconcagua from the West side, via the Standard Route. We chose to climb the less traveled Polish Glacier Route on the East side. Once at the base of the glacier at 19,000 feet, we would then traverse to the North Side and attempt the summit via the Standard Route. This way, we would not need to carry the ice-climbing gear needed for the glacier. This was a big weight advantage for a two-man team.  There would be on average 5 climbing teams in base camp on any given day, with new teams coming in or leaving every day. The East base camp is much smaller that on the West side, where there could easily be 25 teams camped there at any given moment.  We started checking our heart rate and oxygen saturation levels when we would wake up, during the ascent, and while we rested during the day. This was very useful in monitoring how we acclimatized to the higher altitudes. My O2 Sat was currently 82% and my heart rate at 80bpm. I was feeling great but I could tell that my body was working to adapt to the higher altitude. Normally, my O2 Sat would be at about 95% at sea level.

While speaking with the other teams at base camp, we learned that only a U.S. military team has made the summit in the last two weeks.  The weather higher up on the mountain had been very bad: storms and high winds were blowing away tents higher up and making the summit unattainable.

 

 

 

The Approach The First Carry
 
 

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