Cordon del Plata: Day 4
“Tonight I go to bed at a new altitude, 12,225. I feel great with the exception of my stomach, but it’s just gurgly.
Today the team awoke and had a talk about our dynamic and how we would approach easy feats like day hikes to camps. Do we break and not worry about it separating and going at our own paces throughout the day? Or do we always stay together in training as a means of building the team ethic early? We decided that it was ok to break as long as we understood that we are one team that does not compete, but pulls together to achieve our mutual goals.
Today we hiked to a new higher camp on the way to el Salto. It’s nice and higher than the traditional Piedra Grande camp that most people stop in for a night between las Veguitas and el Salto. When we arrived, camp was complete with lots of soiled toilet paper everywhere. I have since torched all that I can find. Why are people pooping so close to where they sleep and eat? We have jokingly given this camp the name, “Camp Muir”.
We relaxed in camp all afternoon after a brutal hike up with heavy packs. Tomorrow is sure to be just as brutal as we slog up to el Salto. Today on the hike the wind was so strong that at times it stopped me or forced me to balance on my poles and hunch over. My pack is exceedingly heavy too with the tripod. I might not get it any further than base camp on Aconcagua. The tripod opens up so many more photo possibilities, but it’s so damn hard to carry in addition to all other weight that is absolutely necessary.
Speaking of resources, fuel is now becoming an issue, albeit a small one at this point. Three nights in Veguitas were fun, but they did drain some of our reserves with many mates, morning coffee, hot meals and the like etc. What’s great is that we see this and as a group take note, start tweaking, skimping and asking ourselves the really necessary questions. Do I need this afternoon mate? Do I need this soup or will a Clif bar suffice?
The one thing that is plentiful is electricity for blogging, gps, camera batteries and iPods. I used to be all against iPods in the woods, but if it were not for this, I would have not gotten to sleep last night in a consistent, howling wind and flapping tent.
I don’t know how much longer we´ll be in the Cordon, maybe 4 more days? We decided to stay until our food or fuel run out. From here we go to Salto, then spend a rest day/ light acclimatization hike there the following day. Then on Saturday, we go to la Hollada and on Sunday we awake and go for Cerro Plata. I would like to get Cerro Vallecitos too, but who knows if we can get both. All depends on luck, our bodies and the weather. Until tomorrow…”