December 20 - Feeling the Altitude

It’s the 20th of December and we’ve taken the day to help with our acclimatization by hiking around Laguna Verde. It’s a full-day adventure – this is not a small lake. We’re probably about half-way now. We’ve stopped for lunch and I’m taking a moment to give you this report.

Exploring Laguna VerdeIt’s been a fantastically beautiful day today. This landscape, the terrain is about colors, brilliant colors that are very sharply delineated and simple. First you have the light brilliant turquoise of the shallow parts of Laguna Verde and then you have the dark green of the deeper portions of the lake. You also have the white of some of the salt flats that are adjacent to the lake and then you have red stone cliffs that are reminiscent of Southeastern Utah. There’s also yellow rock, there are brown sand dunes, the dark gray of many of the peaks in this area and then there are patches of white snow far above the white of the salt flats down here.

These colors are simple, stark and the whole area is overwhelmingly beautiful because of this.

The group is doing very well in terms of acclimatization, I would say. Deborah from Dublin, Ireland reported some altitude sickness symptoms this morning but, as is often the case, when she started moving around, the symptoms went away and she felt much better as she got hiking.

The last time Deborah was in the mountains was in the Selkirk Mountains on the BAI Mountaineering Course with Dave Scott a few months ago, back in August. And now here at 13,700 feet or about 4200 meters she set a new personal altitude record. She’s walking at a higher altitude than she’s ever been at before. In the next coming days she’s going to go much higher.

We’ll be basing out of our hot springs camp at Laguna Verde for some more days and will be doing hikes and climbs in the area which I will report to you.

And of course in just a few days, with Christmas approaching, we’ll be trying to reach the second highest point in the Americas, Ojos del Salado.

22,841 feet
6962 meters

22,637 feet
6900 meters