June 23, 2007 Team Reaches Summit of Cerro Austria
Hello everyone, it’s John calling from Condoriri base camp again. Yesterday we had just a wonderful day. We woke up with the sun and had a great breakfast from our cook Charlie. At 10:00am we began our hike for the summit of Cerro Austria. We reached over 17,000 feet (5200m) yesterday and everyone did very well. The pace was slow and steady and once we reached a pass we were treated to magnificent views of Cabeza de Condor. We spent some time up at the summit acclimatizing which was good for everyone. After spending about half and hour at the summit getting used to the altitude we made our way back to base camp for a pasta dinner.
In the evening we went to bed earlier than we normally have been. Before we crawled into our tents we enjoyed the stars and weather during a calm, warm evening. The snow and glaciers were glowing in the moonlight. Jamie, Jim, Jack, Juan Carlos and myself spent almost an hour enjoying this beautiful night. Sleeps for are getting better as we continue to acclimatize and they are also long because of the long nights here.
This morning we woke to more good weather and we are just about to have breakfast before heading out for our glacier skills day.
We are back at base camp now after a full day of training and brushing up on our skills before we attempt our first peak tomorrow. We started out here in camp this morning traveling on fixed ropes both ascending and descending and everyone picked up this skill very quickly.
After lunch we moved up to the glacier, the same glacier we will ascend early tomorrow. We worked on short roping and traveling across the glacier working on our technique. Again everyone did really well. It took a few steps to get used to their crampons since there is not much use for them down in Georgia where Jim and Jack are from. Everyone got a chance to place their steel crampon points into the hard glacial ice.
Right now we are all taking a little break before dinner. We are planning to have an early dinner this evening. We are also expecting our Bolivian guide, Oswaldo to arrive later on this evening and that will increase the number of people in our party tomorrow.
There is a wind coming in from the north, which usually means there is a change of weather coming our way. This is the same wind that greeted us a few days ago when we arrived here in the Condoriri when we had a little bit of snow, nothing that stayed though. If the pattern is the same we should have a gorgeous day here tomorrow for our attempt of Pequeno Alpamayo.
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