Chris called this morning to check in and to let us all know that the team is resting and acclimatizing at Camp 2 today. They made a carry yesterday and everyone did well, but have decided that it makes sense to spend today letting their bodies get a bit more accustomed to the rarefied air of a half an atmosphere.
At 18,000′ there is roughly one half the oxygen in the air (per given volume) than there is at sea level. Since everyone started at sea level just a couple of weeks back, they are setting themselves up for success by adopting a conservative acclimatization schedule.
Below are some images from a previous trip that should help give you all an idea of the terrain they are climbing and camped in:
Camp 2 is located on a sort of bench, below a snowfield at the bottom of what is known as a dead glacier. Above, the slopes appear to be scree, but some of the terrain is actually an old glacier that is no longer growing, but lies insulated somewhat by the rocks covering it’s icy surface.
Two climbers look over at the massive NW Face of Cerro Ameghino, located just east of Aconcagua.
To the north of the mountain and visible from camp is the spectacular Gussfeldt Range, crowned by the stunning La Mano (The Hand). You cannot see this range from the Normal Route until you are laboring up to the summit, so we feel fortunate to be able to enjoy the views from the relative leisure of Camp 2.
This shot is from roughly 45 minutes above camp 2. Leaving camp, the climbers must ascend a fairly steep section of hill before starting up and into the broad basin in the image above. They make a long, rising traverse into the rocks at the top left of the image. The rocks are the eastern border of the White Rocks high camp and entering them is always a surreal experience. They are purple in hue and remind me of an old Star trek set or something equally bizarre!