Things start getting tough now, but the boys are still faring well and making impressive progress up that ginormous mountain. They climbed back up to Camp 1 today, set up their tents, and tonight will try to sleep in the (thin) mountain air at 16,286 feet. This will be the highest "overnight" for 7 of the 11 team members, including one of the younger guides. The guides deliberately set a slower pace today, taking about 6.25 hours to ascend the 2500" feet in sunny but windy conditions. The additional time made a "huge difference" today and both guys felt good. Below is one of the breathtaking views along the way to the higher camps.
Here's a picture of the luxurious accommodations at Camp 1. No showers here!
I could hear in their voices that they had put in a very hard day's work -- that same kind of gravelly, hoarse voice they get after doing an Ironman. I'm not sure whether that was a bad connection or all the exertion taking a toll; probably a combination of both. They both assured me they are fine, that it's cold, windy, and challenging, (as Anders put it "pretty wild up here") but so far so good! I'm very relieved every time I hear their voices, gravelly and all!
Last night was a tough night at Base Camp. The winds were whipping around, and their tent was literally smacking them in the head. As an added challenge, Randy was suffering from a bit of gastro distress, which is a common mountain-climber nuisance. At the risk of "too much information", a bland diet and the Immodium in his very impressive drug cache seemed to do the trick. By the way, between them they could open up a small pharmacy in Mendoza. Let's hope they don't have to use much of their "just in case" meds they somehow talked their doctors into prescribing for them.
Tomorrow they repeat the 'back and forth' trekking they did between Base Camp and Camp 1, but this time they will carry everything up to Camp 2 (17,800), then descend to sleep at Camp 1. Then the next day, they will re-ascend to Camp 2 and sleep there. Again, all this backtracking helps them acclimatize well which greatly increases their chance to summit. The next couple days will be very windy, but forecast still is looking promising for a summit attempt sometime around the 12th to 15th. The idea is to get to Camp 3 at 19,500' and stay put until weather conditions permit an attempt. More mañana!