Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sleeping at Camp Two: Heading to Camp Three

This is Judy (Randy's wife) checking in again with an update from Randy and his team.  I've been traveling with limited Internet so sorry this is a day behind, but hopefully I will try to stay very up-to-date over the next few days, as this is game time up on Aconcagua.  These next few days are what all the planning, training, hoping, and praying have all been about --- will the weather finally cooperate and will each of their bodies continue to adapt to the progressively thinner air so they can get in position up at Camp Three for the physically grueling and mentally demanding summit attempt?  Only time will tell, but that time is certainly approaching.

To catch us up, there was another eventful overnight on Thursday night when the team was sleeping at Camp One.  The winds were howling all night again, gusting up to 70 mph, as Randy was hunkered down in his tent with the other Randy, trying to get some rest.   If you remember, Randy is the climber that is traveling with his two sisters, Denise and Diane.  In the middle of the night, the wind was ripping so strongly that it literally tore apart the sisters' tent.  This is quite dangerous as the temperatures are so frigid, it's pitch black, and they had to move quickly to secure their belongings and try to get warm.  They cannot afford to lose any of their gear at those altitudes; they need everything they have to keep safe and warm on the mountain.   The guides helped them and the two sisters split up, one squeezing in with her brother and Randy, and the other sister jamming in with other teammates.   The next morning, they all realized the tent was beyond repair, and they knew they had no time built in the schedule to go back to Base Camp for a new tent.  So the guides talked it over and split everyone up according to size.  Now here is the amusing part:  Randy (our Randy that is, not the brother) is now the proud new tent mate of Denise and Diane!  I guess the rationale is that the other Randy (the brother) is smaller and can more easily fit in with two other men.  When Randy called me to report this, I happened to be out to lunch with a bunch of my girlfriends, and, well you can just imagine the joking about Randy camping out at 16,000 ft with two women!  The reality is I am relieved about this because I've been worried about Randy doing this trek without his wingman, Anders, watching out for him.  So now I am hoping Denise and Diane watch over Randy in this hugely taxing last part of the climb, and vice versa, and they all stay strong and safe.

Friday morning they packed everything up and climbed up to Camp Two at 18,000 ft., where they spent last night.  The climb took them about 4.5 hours, about an hour faster than Randy and Anders did the same route last year.  Randy said this group of climbers is really strong and they continue to move at a pretty brisk pace.  Thankfully, Camp Two is on the other side of the mountain, and Randy was thrilled to report that the winds had died down and they might finally be getting a break in the weather.   Here's a picture of Camp Two, definitely high up in the middle of nowhere.  You can see the climbers approaching and tents in the distance.  Camp Two is not really much of a "camp", really just a somewhat protected spot to set up their tents and settle for the night.

They continue to revise their plans based on the weather, and this is their new strategy:
Carry to Camp Three today (Saturday)
Descend and sleep back at Camp Two  (Saturday)
Rest day tomorrow at Camp Two (Sunday)
Climb back up and Move to Camp Three (Monday)
Summit Attempt (Tuesday)

As you can see below, Tuesday looks like a perfect summit day: sunny and clear with very low winds.  They are cutting it close as they will have no extra rest or weather days built in, but the guides think this is their best shot.  If they can't summit Tuesday, they will have to head back down the mountain.

When Randy called to say good night last night, he felt pretty good and was in good spirits, settled into his tent with his new buddies, Denise and Diane.  I just have to laugh as I write this thinking of him up at 18,000 jammed into a tent with these two women.  By now they are exhausted, dirty, and probably all stink, but in April Randy and I will have been married 30 years (yikes), so you can imagine this will give all our family and friends something to tease him about!  Let's send them all positive vibes as they move into the final part of their journey.  Feel free to add any comments on this blog; Randy will love reading them when he returns.

1 comment:

rappstar said...

Fingers crossed for you on Tuesday! Go get it!