Monday, January 20, 2014

"Best Day Ever"

Randy had another great day, calling in to say they had ascended back up to High Camp One and set up camp for the night.  So this will be the first night the group is sleeping up at 16,650.  To put that in perspective, that is higher than any mountains in the US except for a few in Alaska, including of course, McKinley. It's a bit daunting that they still have about 6000 feet to climb!

The good news is Randy continues to feel strong, in fact, he said he feels better every day.  So he seems to be acclimating really well and not having any stomach or lung issues.  So keep your fingers crossed that this continues!

As forecasted, the winds had significantly picked up, and Randy was basically wearing all of his clothes, 4 layers on top, 3 layers on the bottom, including his huge puffy jacket and puffy pants.  They must all look like they are walking on the moon.   The wind is expected to intensify over the next few days, making some of their ascents a bit tricky.  So they will have to see how things are and figure which days to rest and which to climb.   Right now the summit is basically shut down due to high winds, but their hope is they take the next 5 or so days to move up to the Highest Camp (Camp Three), and then hopefully the winds will not be whipping around as much.   Here's a look at the forecast at the summit for the next 5 days.  (You can click on it to zoom in).   Clearly, no one would want to be trying to summit with these 60 - 75 MPH winds, and wind chills around 25  below!  They are hopeful come Saturday, Sunday, although still windy, things might calm down enough to allow a summit attempt.  As these things go, you just never know.  As I reported, the team before them had to head back down due to weather and give up their summit chance, so it's out of their control, and Randy's team will just keep moving up the mountain hoping they get their chance.

Speaking of weather, and however insignificant this may sound to you all, I had planned a little girls trip to Florida while Randy is away.  Since Delaware, like Aconcagua, is bracing for a HUGE weather event (accumulation of a formidable 4 - 6 inches of snow) our flight from Philadelphia was preemptively cancelled 36 hours in advance.  So, consequently, I've spent the last 2 hours frantically trying to rebook 11 flights.  Fortunately, you can all breath a huge sigh of relief that we worked it out.  So while Randy braves arctic temperatures, chilling winds,  and grueling ascents, I will be blogging poolside, with margarita in hand, from Delray Beach. 

Back to Randy (I guess this blog is really about him), the plan is to carry to High Camp Two tomorrow (18,045 feet), and then descend to sleep at Camp One.  Of course, this is all dependent on the wind, so we'll see what happens.  Wish him luck and send positive thoughts up to the weather gods! 

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