January 11, 2006 - Back in the Mountain Air

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

The team completes forms for their permitsIt’s about 5:30 in the afternoon on the 11th of January and I’m calling you from Punta del Inca, along the highway right near the entrance to the Aconcagua National Park.  We are now at an elevation of 9,100 feet (2774m) so we are moving back up. 

Yesterday afternoon after we had that wonderful lunch at the sidewalk café in Mendoza we all went over to register and get our permits to enter Aconcagua National Park and climb Aconcagua.  There are climbers there from all over the world.  It took quite awhile, we had to pay our fees, register and present our passports.  It was the five of us along with the Bolivian guides Juancho and Oswaldo who decided to register not only for the Normal Route but those guys are going to stay and do the south face on Aconcagua as well so they got a permit for that.

Oswaldo and Juancho complete their permit formsThis morning we began to prepare quite frantically actually because we had a lot to do but we are one day ahead of schedule now.  Rather than two nights in Mendoza we’ve actually moved all the way up to the park entrance and we’ll camp back at altitude tonight.  I know that for Ken who’s talking already about very much missing his family and really all of us getting started back up the mountain will be a good move.  It will be good to be back at elevation.

It’s extremely hot in Mendoza but now you can probably hear the wind in the background and I’m beginning to feel that we’re back in the mountain air.  We will be hiking about an hour tonight; tomorrow we’ll take a long walk.  We’re leaving our big duffel bags right here and there is a big coral full of mules, big giant mules that will be carrying the bulk of our weight.  So we’re stripped down to small packs, the mules are carrying the big weight as we climb higher on Aconcagua.

22,841 feet
6962 meters

22,637 feet
6900 meters