January 3, 2006 - Team Climbs Muerta Mula

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It’s about 4:00 in the afternoon on January 3rd.  Roger, Niki, Leila and I just got out from a long soak in the hot springs here on the shores of Laguna Verde.  I’m looking over at Brian, Bob and Ken and they are sitting over by the dining tent in their chairs, probably complaining about the heat.  We have remarkably warm temperatures here at over 4000 meters at Laguna Verde for all the days we’ve been here.

Today was our big push for acclimatization and seeing how we do as we climb higher.  We got up very early at 6:00am and we climbed 3,000 feet in just a little over 4 hours to 17,500 feet (5333m) on a gentle, rock slope leading up towards a peak called Muerta Mula nearby the lake.  It was a beautiful climb looking back down on the turquoise green of the lake and looking across at an unimaginable terrain reaching in every direction, unnamed peaks, unknown peaks to us, all at very high altitudes.

This group moved very well.  I was very pleased at how well it went.  We went slowly but the group seems strong.  Now we are soaking our tired muscles as I said.  Charlie will have our dinner ready tonight, and this our fourth night at this elevation and our sixth night since we left Copiapo and had our first camp at Santa Rosa up in the high desert.  We are finally feeling ready to move up to Camp 1, quite a lot higher on the side of Ojos.  So another truck is coming out tomorrow, Samu will be loaded up, our trusty 4-wheel drive Toyota land cruiser and we’ll move higher on Ojos del Salado, conditioned and acclimatized and I’m sure ready for the challenges above.

22,841 feet
6962 meters

22,637 feet
6900 meters