December 30, 2007 – Getting into the Groove

Hello, this is Wally, and I'm calling you from the crest of the Andes. We are at a pass at about 12,300 feet above sea level, a few miles above the little town we're staying in. It's a beautiful day, absolutely clear. I'm looking across perfectly blue skies. It's the summer of Aconcagua, there's a little snow, and you can tell that it is quite windy up there today. But all in all, it's a gorgeous day in the Andes. 

Our hotel is located right across a little ski area, and we climbed up there as part of our acclimatization about 1,300 feet above our hotel on the trails. Kate informed us that she is not very good at walking down hill so we were prepared to take our time so Kate wouldn't struggle too much. But it turned out that Kate left us all behind on the descent. We're not really sure what she meant by "not very good," on the downhill, but certainly on the trails and ski slopes, she moved very fast. It might have something to do with all those good Argentinean steaks she's been eating in South America. The acclimatization is very important, it's key for us if we're going to have any success on this mountain.

We'll be in the hotel one more night, and tomorrow night, New Year's Eve, we'll enter the provincial park to report to our base camp. We'll try to report to you every day. The team looks strong and motivated. The clear Andean sky up above certainly has us in a good mood.

22,841 feet
6962 meters