January 30 - Farewell to Argentina

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Farewell Dinner - Aconcagua y Ojos 2004This will be the final dispatch for this season’s BAI Ojos del Salado and Aconcagua climbs. Most of the group has flown back north towards home already, only Dee, Leila and myself remain in Mendoza and we will fly out tonight.

On the 26th after that last dispatch I gave you on our summit day, we returned to Plaza de Mules. Besides all the stimulating things available there in terms of food and social activity, the other thing that Plaza de Mules is usually about is Mules. Of course that is where the mules come in and haul our big loads that allow us to stage our climb higher on Aconcagua.

On the 27th we woke up intending to leave Plaza de Mules a day earlier than planned, just to get back to Mendoza. But we discovered early in the morning from the park rangers that the Harcones River had flooded. Not really an unusual event, but in this case it was high enough that it put the bridge out down by Camp del Inca and no animals were able to make it in. The park rangers weren’t very thrilled about us walking out on our own even if we were willing to get ahead of our big loads; they thought it was too dangerous. So we took an extra day in Plaza de Mules, which was not a bad thing all in all, plenty to do for a team that’s relaxing after a difficult climb like that.

Norb also enjoys a good steak!On the 28th we got back to Mendoza after the walk out, quite late at night. Bruce who loves his steak, loves his beef and that means he does very well in Argentina because this country is very proud of its beef. He found a huge steak at about 12:30 or 1:00am the night we got back. And I can report to you that in the 24 hours after that he probably had 2 or 3 more (I know he had at least 3 more) big steaks, and he has not slowed down to this point. I think when he gets out of Argentina he may have to settle for some more normal pieces of beef, but Bruce is lovin’ being back to eating his steaks.

We had a great month as you can tell great success. Everybody looks fit, tanned, healthy, a bit leaner and they have a gleam in their eyes because we saw some beautiful country and had some great accomplishments at high altitude. It will be hard to leave Mendoza but this is always a good feeling when you’ve got the accomplishment behind you and I know everybody on those planes is anxious to get home today. Dee, Leila and myself will be glad to get home tomorrow.

So this is ciao from Argentina and the BAI Aconcagua climb which was so successful just a few days ago.

Hotel Aconcagua

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