January 12, 2007 - Ojos del Salado Summit Day

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

Juancho fixes lines near the summit of Ojos del Salado

At 11:15am this morning on the 12th of January, I got a radio call from Opus that I would like to share with you.  He was calling me from the top of Ojos del Salado, the second highest peak in the western hemisphere at virtually 6900m (22,640ft).  In a tired voice he described to me that he, Juancho and Jose Lito were sitting on the top and that Martin Glynn was ascending the final few sections of the rope that Jose Lito had fixed to the very summit.  Sure enough at 11:30am all four of those men were standing on the top of Ojos together.

Martin accompanied Opus, Juancho and Jose Lito to the summit of Ojos del Salado todayI told them congratulations, then I said ‘Berg Hiel’ the Austrian way to say congratulations for mountain success that Klaus has taught us on this trip, that is what he said to me when I stepped on the top of Mula Meurta the other day.  I reminded them that they had a mandatory swim in the Pacific ocean with me tomorrow night.  Can you believe this, these guys who are at the second highest point in the western hemisphere and tomorrow we are going to swim in the ocean together.

Now backing up a bit the rest of the team had a good day today.  Those two will be the only ones on the summit.  We were all moving at 3:00am together and at various times through the morning different people decided that their level of conditioning, what they wanted out of Ojos was enough, for some reason or another they began to go back with the Bolivian guides mostly early in the morning, it was a beautiful morning by the way.  We climbed for several hours in the starlight.  Claire said at one point, there’s the Southern Cross and we all marveled at the beauty of the stars in the southern hemisphere

Opus radioed Wally from the top of Ojos del Salado todayFinally, as the morning wore on I was climbing with Dafna as well as Oswaldo and just a few meters below us was Claire and Jose Lito.  By this time we had climbed high on the glacier and there was a lot of deep snow.  I could see Opus, Martin and their crew not that far above but it would take us more than an hour to cover the distance from the spot where we saw them to where they were.  I knew at that time that only the lead team was going all the way to the top of Ojos today.  It was hard for Claire and especially hard for Dafna to turn back but now we are resting and waiting for Opus, Martin and the gang to get down and we know we made the right call.

Remember we are going to Aconcagua [lost transmission]

22,841 feet
6962 meters

22,637 feet
6900 meters