January 7, 2007 - First Acclimitization Peak

Listen to Audio of Wally's Call (.wav)

Windy day on Mula Meurto

On Sunday January 7th the team left our camp here at Laguna Verde very early in the morning for an ascent of Mula Muerto and if you speak Spanish, yes that does mean ‘dead mule’.  Dead Mule peak was our goal for the day.  The summit we were shooting for was 18,600ft (5670m), in other words it was 4,400ft (1340m) above our camp here at Laguna Verde.  It was going to be an important day for conditioning for this group, plus a very beautiful summit if we could reach it.

Klaus was part of the group to reach the summit of Mula Meurto todayAt about 1:45 in the afternoon Dafna, Martin, Klaus, Jeff and Danny followed Oswaldo and I to the very top.  Just a few minutes later Claire showed up with a beautiful smile on her face, really happy to have reached the top.  Just a little lower down Steve, Jerri and Nikki had turned back at one of our false summits, we call them falsies.  When you start up a big ridge on mountains like this you’ll see what you are certain is the summit, you’ll reach the top and there will be another summit beyond. Down at 17,000ft (5180m)Carol and Mario, the guide, had turned back and a little bit below that Opus and Erin had turned back with Rudolpho.

Today was about acclimatization so how ever high people went was a worthy effort.  In the high winds of Mula Muerto we were given a good taste of what it is going to be coming when we try to do Ojos del Salado in a few days.  I estimate that we had winds of at least 40 knots.  I didn’t see anyone get knocked down but we were all knocked off balance and had to make an effort to stay upright at various times in the high winds.  Temperatures have been quite warm though and as I keep saying it’s beautiful.  As we look back down on the brilliant, green salt lake of Laguna Verde and out across the expanse of the high Atacama Desert, seeing many peaks reaching over 6000m.

Jerri points the way to Ojos del Salado

22,841 feet
6962 meters

22,637 feet
6900 meters