January 11 - A Rest Day at The Inca Ruins

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It’s the 11th of January, the evening of the 11th of January and life is still very good here at Laguna Verde camp. This will be our fourth night here; the hot springs are still great as Dick Jessor can tell you. Life at 14,500 feet continues to make each of us aware that we are at altitude, but also we feel better every day. We are adapting, we are acclimatizing.

Guide Max knows where to find the Inca ruins.Tomorrow we’ll go up to 17,500 feet to what we call camp 1, as we get ready to actually climb Ojos on the 14th of January. A group of us today went back across on the other side of Laguna Verde, looking for Inca Ruins under the leadership of Max who is on the guide staff as definitely our resident naturalist and observer of the world. They had a great deal of success, not only having a great hike, but finding some Inca relics and ruins in this vast area that really has seen very little visiting over the century. So it’s amazing to see what ancient people did in this area, still laying in this dry climate where things are so well preserved.

Then Grant, Gary and I went up to reconnoiter to check out the route to camp 1. You may not know but a four wheel drive exploring across the desert terrain here is a part of this trip. We checked out the route tomorrow for the vehicles as we’ll be driving up towards Ojos, and it changed from last year the way I remember it, but it’s going to be very doable and we got a good notion of what we’ll be doing tomorrow as we drive up a lot higher and get prepared to climb Ojos.

4-wheelin' Atacama styleDonna and Leila went back in to Copiapo, as I mentioned yesterday Donna fell just short of the summit and sure enough she wasn’t sure about her knee. She made the wise decision of not pushing on. She got it checked out by a doctor in Copiapo today and I spoke with them by satellite phone and they’ll be back, doing that desert drive back out here and will be with us at 10 o’clock tonight.

Donna has great news that she just needs to rest that knee for 2 or 3 days and then resume her activity. Probably means, it does mean that she’s out of the Ojos summit but she’ll still have much to gain from a lot of good exploring and climbing in Chile and Argentina before this BAI expedition is over. We’ll report to you from camp 1 tomorrow.

22,841 feet
6962 meters

22,637 feet
6900 meters