Sunday, January 13, 2013

Safe on Base

Well, if this isn't the most amazing thing?!  Randy called from Plaza de Mulas Base Camp, the second largest base camp in the world, after Everest. The group made it safely down to 14,400 ft after a 3+ hour hike down.  As he was talking to me he walked over to the Aconcagua Web Cam and told me to look online.  And what do you know?  Here he is talking to me on the phone!

It was great to see him!  He'd been telling me how he can't wait to get off the mountain and take a shower -- that it's been an amazing experience, but a very rough, tough, grimy existence up there.  Then he popped up on my screen!  I can't decide if he looks like "Mr. Patagonia" or a disheveled homeless person, but to me he looks great!

After the big day yesterday, all the team members were feeling completely worn out, and it didn't help that they had to sleep up at 19,500!  Anders had a horrible headache and Randy's oxygen levels were dipping pretty low.  But with a mega dose of Ibuprofen, porters carrying half of their gear, and the "C" boys incredible determination, they set out again for a snowy and slippery trek down the mountain.  Randy said he fell a few times but no big deal since there was no "exposure".  (For those of you that don't know, "exposure" means if you fall, you are in trouble.)

There are supposedly several meal tents, showers, and possibly even Internet access at this base camp.  Wouldn't it be great if Randy managed to get on the internet and blog a bit!  Or take a shower?  By the way, this is a different base camp then the one they stopped at one the way up; they are coming down the other side of the mountain.  They are both feeling and breathing a lot better now that there is "so much more oxygen".  I guess it's all relative because they are still pretty high up there - not exactly oxygen heaven!

Tomorrow they will hike all the way out, over 20 miles, then tomorrow night get a ride to Mendoza.  I am trying to help move up their flights so they can come home Wednesday or Thursday instead of their scheduled Sunday.

As I was writing this Anders surprised me and called! We tried to get a picture in front of the web cam, but it had stopped working!  But it was incredible to hear his voice.  He had been super dehydrated after his summit yesterday, so had a rough night.  I asked how summiting was, and he said, "It was really, really hard. It's ridiculous how high it is, how little oxygen there is.  It became a mental thing at the end.  But I wasn't going to give up.  And it wasn't just the summit.  This whole experience has been hard, dirty, demanding.  It's a Suffer Fest!"   So I asked, "Well, wow, that sounds horrible. What did you think of it all?"
His answer:  "I LOVED it!"  So, there you go!  : )

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