July 1 - (Evening Dispatch) Team Returns to Camp

It’s 4pm and the entire team is safely back down to high camp.  I should say safely, very happy and very, very tired.  I’m looking at a crew that I can’t believe what they did today, they’re happy about it but they definitely feel what we’ve done.

IPenitentes on Ojos del Salado did not have time on top to tell you exactly what happened today but were moving at 3:45am and an hour after we began moving we reached the snow and the fixed lines.  If you are wondering how the lines got fixed, Oswaldo and Juancho went while we were eating here last night with all their strength and speed and fixed a portion of the line that we needed fixed.

So in the darkness the team was ascending fixed lines and after that they were ascending relatively steep snow.  But I should tell you as we were coming down the whole thing was about penitentes or neve, if you want to know what penitentes look like you can go back to some of the Berg Adventures cybercasts from Ojos del Salado.  They are pinnacles or towers of melted ice that are particularly characteristic of the Andes but you can find them in high mountains around the world. 

Coming down they were very draining of our energy.  We like to take short steps and walk with a rhythmic pace descending the steep snow slopes through the penitentes and our rope teams took a long time.  But they handled it well, the final section of the fixed line and we came into camp.  The first roped team was John and Shawna and behind was Michael and I and behind us was Juancho, Oswaldo, Scott and Rob.  Once again a really tired crew, but a happy one.

Michael says that this was the most technical climb…(lost transmission)

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