It has been a busy couple of days for our team of climbers. Yesterday, they made their summit bid, climbing up in cold and windy conditions. After returning to High Camp, two of the team descended to the Plaza de Mulas Base Camp with our guide Aaron Diamond.
Brian got word that a work issue had come up, so we helped him sort out a way to get back to Mendoza in time to catch a flight home today. It was touch and go, but the weather permitted a flight out from Plaza de Mulas in a helicopter. Sean joined his friend for the descent and the flight, and he is resting in Mendoza at the moment.
The rest of the team packed up camp this morning in windy conditions. They dropped down from the White Rocks camp site in blustery, cold wind, blowing snow and all together making travel quite tough. They descended down to Plaza de Mulas, meeting Aaron partway down (he had hiked up to help the team). Reunited, they made their way down to the small city that is the western Base Camp for the mountain. Everyone was happy to kick off their dusty boots and enjoy some warm food and cold beverages. They will spend the night in Plaza de Mulas and make their way out the Horcones Valley tomorrow. Some of the team might elect to fly out, as a helicopter is available to save already tired feet and knees the 15 mile grind of walking down the Horcones. The valley is beautiful and has a very different feel than the Vacas Valley, which the ascended over two weeks ago, whether seen from the air or from the cobble-strewn river bottom.
This has been one of the tougher trips in memory. The team faced very cold temperatures and rough, windy conditions. Congrats to all the climbers for keeping their spirits high in the face of such adversity.