June 26 - Berg Adventures Team on Top of Pequeno Alpamayo (17,618 ft / 5370 m)
Its 1:15 in the afternoon on June 26th and the Berg Adventures Team is on top of Pequeno Alpamayo, one of the most esthetic peaks in all the Andes. Right now I am looking around me on the summit at Bob Burnett, Shawna, John Freeman, Keith and our two excellent Bolivian guides Eswaldo and Juanancho. Leila will pop up on the summit any minute now; she’s just moments away from the top.
We woke up at 3:00am this morning and at 4:00am we had a big breakfast of scrambled eggs and ham, peanut butter and toast and all the delicacies we like. Michael Boni told me very early this morning that he had an upset stomach and was not going to be able to join the summit team today. Since we have been on the top we have been in radio contact with Michael at base camp and he gave us a heart felt congratulations to the rest of the group. We look forward to climbing with him on Sajama before this expedition is over.
Scott Wagner ran out of gas he said at the bottom of the fixed lines. He is feeling great but he wanted to save his energy so he’s waiting a few hundred feet below us at the bottom of the fixed lines and we will all descend back to base camp together.
It’s been a beautiful clear and wind free day, we are a great team and we have a lot of adventures to come. Shawna is already thinking of how good the soup is back at base camp and I know we are all going to have several bowls of it when we first arrive.
[ A short time later... ]
It took us only a short time to get back down to Scott. This team of four guides and all the climbers worked exceptionally efficiently. I was really impressed of how easily we descended. We found Scott waiting contentedly, he said that he thought it was a smart move for him to wait and save some energy.
I’ll tell you the climb of Pequeno Alpamayo is really beautiful. Bob Burnett reported that he thought it was harder than Mount Elbrus, in Russia and I am not sure I agree with that but certainly it was a big climb for this group today.
In case you did not know it we climbed two mountains today. We left as I said very early this morning and we climbed Tarija at 16,600 ft (5000m) on our way to Pequeno Alpamayo. We left a lot of big bags there, some of our clothing and food and water bottles that we can drink when we get back. We then continued on to Pequeno Alpamayo. So this group has two big summits behind them today.
Now I am just behind the group and John, Eswaldo and Juanacho are working in a very skilled manner to get the group back across the traverse to the rock section that leads us back to the top of Tarija, I’m going to photograph them climbing the rock section.
Leila came off the ridge of Pequeno Alpamayo saying how hungry she was so we will enjoy a late lunch when we get back to Tarija before descending down the glacier and join Michael and Juan Carlos and the entire team down at base camp. We will call you from base camp to let everyone know that we reached our home base safely.
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