Lawrence called in from Camp 2 at 18,000′. The team moved up to what is known as “Helicopter Camp” on the 9th of December under mixed weather, alternating between very hot and quite chilly.
Chris also called in to report that everyone is doing great. They hiked through about a foot of snow yesterday, en route to camp. After leaving their Camp 1, they ascended up and slightly around the side of a broad bowl-shaped valley. At the northern end of the valley, they climbed out and into a col or valley that separates two mountains, in this case Aconcagua and the very pretty Cerro Ameghino, which rises to just above 20,000 and lies to the east of Aconcagua. They followed this valley for a while before trending back up and onto the northeastern flank of Aconcagua, where they put in their camp.
Helicopter Camp gets its name from the wreckage of a Lama helicopter that littered the slopes above camp for a decade or so. There is not much left of the chopper these days, but the name has remained a common one. Camp is fairly protected, and they have good access to water which flows from a broad snowfield above camp. When it is clear, they can see the top of the mountain, as well as their route up to the next camp at White Rocks (c. 20,000′). The plan is to take an acclimatization day at Camp 2 and maybe make a hike up to White Rocks with light loads. This will help them acclimatize better for their summit attempt, and should also keep them below some predicted high winds that might hammer the upper mountain tonight and tomorrow.