June 24 - Everyone Reaches the Summit of Cerro Austria

The beautiful views from high on Cerro Austria

It’s the 24th of June and I’m calling you from a beautiful pass at over 5000 meters (16,400 feet).  The entire Berg Adventures team successfully reached the summit of Cerro Austria (5226 m / 17,139 ft) this afternoon.  I didn’t call you from the top because we were so relaxed in the beautiful still air up there but the entire team made it looking really great and strong on this first major peak ascent of this expedition.

Last night the team sat around in our cook tent and played mountaineering monopoly.  Leila is famous for bringing these board games and entertainment to places such as Everest Base Camp and other places and a new one she found was monopoly based on mountaineering.  We had a lot of fun with it!

Keith Wilson was the rules manager of mountaineering monopolyScott Wagner managed to acquire both Everest and K2 and put tents on those mountains and won the game.  Leila owned several of the trails like the Inca Trail and the Appalachian Trail.  Keith Wilson was our rules manager, he remembered the rules of monopoly better than anyone and I am sure it is because Heather, Erin and Bryn and he have played monopoly consistently through the years back home in California.  Mountaineering monopoly was a big hit at base camp last night.

This morning our climb was very enjoyable.  On our breaks we had, which we have become accustomed to now, we had treats from Lauren, Michael Boni’s better half in every sense back home in B.C.  She sent treats with him that he shares with us every day.  I noticed during our long hikes on Isla del Sol at over 13,000 ft there was all these long lasting suckers that Michael pulled out to share with the group.  I accused him of picking the long lasting suckers so he could extend the break but we took care of that because I informed the team that we suck while we walk.  So Lauren we thank you for the wonderful treats, they are helping our moral each day.

Leila was very popular for bringing the mountaineering monopolyOn the top it was perfectly windless; you would not have believed how beautiful it was.  John Freeman was sitting on the top and he looked very dashing in his new Andean gaucho hat (broad brimmed hat) that some of the men in the altiplano wear.  He wears it everywhere he goes now and I have to say he looks more like a ranch hand from Argentina than a mountaineer but it does look really good on him.

As you can tell the entire team is doing very well.  Tomorrow we will review some rope and climbing techniques for our climb day after tomorrow to Pequeno Alpamayo.  So tomorrow is somewhat of a rest day and tonight we already talked to Juan Carlos by radio who is at base camp and he has ensured us that hot drinks followed by dinner will be waiting for us when we return to base camp tonight.

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