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Aconcagua: Cifelli & Team Finish Trek to Base Camp and Enjoy the Luxuries

Day three of our trek to base camp began with an alpine start, getting up before sunrise. After breaking camp and a quick breakfast we were at our first, of two, river crossings just as the sun was rising. The glacier-cold water caused a sudden shock to the senses, making it painful and difficult to continue crossing. As the water got up to our knees, the painful cold made it impossible to move our legs, and we needed the encouragement of our fearless guides to get us across.  

After that we were wide awake and ready to leave the Vacas valley and spend the day hiking up the Ralenchos valley. Not long after the river crossing we soon got our first glimpse of the size and grandeur of Aconcagua. After hiking up the narrow valley, safely getting through a few exposed sections above the river, and our last river crossing, the valley opened up to high desert plains dotted with large boulders and low thorny bushes.

A few times throughout the day, we had to move out of the way of the stedfast burros carrying gear to and from base camp. Mostly following the path, some would misbehave and try to go another direction, requiring the gauchos to yell and whistle to get them back in line. 

After making it to base camp, we were greeted by the wonderful Grajales staff. We all sat down in the dome tent where we eat, and were brought fresh fruit, sodas, and we made coffee and yerba mate (a local highly-caffeinated tea that guide Ben introduced us to). This was followed by a delicious lunch of pan-fried pork belly, potato salad, zucchini, and cup of fruit for dessert. 

We then set up all our tents at our campsites, got settled in, and relaxed as we are getting used to the thin air of 13,800ft. 

Base camp is even better than our prior two camps. In addition to the dome tents to eat and hang out in, bathrooms (which can be a challenge for some to get out of), solar-panel power to charge our electronics, and wifi that is faster than at home, there are showers! At 13,800ft!

This evening's dinner was exceptional as always! 

Broccoli soup, steak, wine, and crepes (Myles did not have wine, Fionnuala). 

We'll all sleep well tonight, now that everyone has their sleeping bags.

Shout out to Eddie!

Climber Andy Green 

Comments (2)

You know it’s getting real with a 50lb pack on your back and a glacier-melt river up to your knees. I also heard that Ben is willing to assist the porters with any additional gear needing to get to carried to the next camp.

Posted by: Ed DaPra on

I love these posts!  Thank you for keeping those of us who are with you in spirit in the loop and with all the detail.  The river crossings sound so painfully cold. Now rest and recharge as you acclimate to the altitude. Buen Camino Mikayla!

Posted by: Michelle DeMers on

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