January 10 - Acclimatizing at 18,500'

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It’s the 10th of January and today as you know is our day to climb to 18,500 feet and I’m on my way down right now and it’s gone remarkably well. The entire team has been strong.

Gary Bacon says "Happy Birthday, Mom!"We got up at 5:00am this morning and we were moving by 7:00am. As we were having breakfast and getting ready in the darkness to go, Gary Bacon was thinking of his mother. He mentioned that today his mother, Lois in California is celebrating her birthday. We wish her happy birthday of course.

We all started right at 7 o’clock and I was with Paul Stempin at 17,800 feet when he and I decided that he would descend, just to kind of take care of an altitude headache. Remember this is our first day this high and we’re just going at it slow to let our bodies adapt.

We walked back down to the high point for the rest of the group which was at 17,400 feet. I saw one figure heading our way and that was Norb. I knew it was Norb even though I couldn’t recognize him because I knew Norb was going to push as far as he could until I told him it was time to go down. Norb has been really strong as he always is but he’s got joints, knees that are bothering him and we need to take care of those.

So we met up with Norb at 17,500 feet and turned back. But I’m proud to say we looked up the ridge and along with the Chilean guide Fernando, Gary, Daniel, Donna, Tom, Dave Huber and Richard were ascending to the very summit at 18,500 feet. So they made it all the way up. Donna stopped just short of the summit, I’m thinking she’s taking care of her knee, which I probably mentioned she had ACL surgery last year; but those guys did great.

Relaxing in the local hot springsThe point being that everyone had a good acclimatization day, we pushed hard, we’ll regress tomorrow and recuperate, but we’re, as I keep saying upping the altitude ante and it’s going to pay off as we climb bigger peaks down the way.

Now it’s time to descend and find the hot springs. We can’t wait to get down there and soak for awhile. Yesterday a group of us were sitting in one of the hot springs at Laguna Verde and Dick Jessor came by and said that he was only going to stick his feet in. I said well that’s fine if that’s all that you need and I was kind of skeptical that would really be where it stopped. He had his feet in all of about 10 seconds before you could see him stripping off the rest of his clothes and he was fully in the hot water with us after that, enjoying it.

So those hot springs are calling us now and a rest day tomorrow, but a really successful acclimatization day on this peak today.

22,841 feet
6962 meters

22,637 feet
6900 meters