December 29, 2005 - Great Beginnings in South America

Berg Adventures Ojos del Salado / Aconcagua 2006 Team

We are reporting in for the first time for this year’s BAI Ojos del Salado and Aconcagua Expedition from the lovely desert city of Copiapo, at the southern edge of Chile’s fabulous Atacama Region.

On the 27th the team flew in from various locations around the world - Calgary, Toronto, Phoenix, Seattle and Hong Kong.  We assembled at the Four Points Sheraton in Santiago, where we had our team briefing.  This little crew of climbers and adventures has an impressive background of traveling the world to climb ‘Peaks of Prominence’, the Seven Summits, and interesting terrain features that present challenges both big and small where we can find them.

Bolivian guide EswaldoStories of climbs in the Cascades, the desert ranges of California and Arizona, the Hills of Hong Kong, the Canadian Rockies as well as such far flung destinations as Siberia, Nepal, and Bolivia were told as we got together and began to relate our excitement as well as our anxieties about this upcoming adventure: first an ascent of the second highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, Ojos del Salado, then a trip to Argentina to climb the very highest summit in the Americas, Aconcagua.  Our ages range from 23 to 69, but I find as we talk and share our experiences and concerns we are all much the same, a group of adventurers who love the mountains.

The rest of our team - the BAI Bolivia guides and staff arrived in Copiapo by 4 wheel drive from La Paz a few days ago.  The fellows will be well known to those of you who followed BAI´s Bolivia climbs last June.  Juan Carlos, Eswaldo, Juancho and Charlie are all back.  The driver is Luis and the four wheel drive that brought the guys on the three day trip down from Bolivia is named ‘Samu’.

Bolivian guide JuanchoLast night we left our hotel in Copiapo for a restaurant and enjoyed a relaxing welcome dinner to begin the trip.  We had Chilean wine, fish, pasta and of course some of us had excellent cuts of Chilean beef, a nice warm up for the great steaks that wait for us in Mendoza Argentina.  Oldies pop hits of familiar music - everything from Louis Armstrong to the Hermits provided the backdrop for the conversations on the restaurant sound system.

We are off to the desert now and to altitude.  Tonight’s camp will be along the shores of the beautiful Santa Rosa Lake, at 12,500 feet (3810m) above sea level.

Eswaldo and Juancho went yesterday to set the camp up and get things ready.  We will be leaving excited, our cameras and our curiosity ready as we travel across the dry expanse toward Santa Rosa Lake.

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22,841 feet
6962 meters

22,637 feet
6900 meters