We love ending the week with good news!
Simon Wallis, Jason Harvey and Mark Thomson have successfully completed the first leg of their summit up Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Andes. We’ve all been waiting with bated breath for an update since they officially set off on their adventure earlier this week, so we were thrilled to receive an email last night with this download from their daily journal:
"4th Feb – We woke up early, had a light breakfast and set off for beginning of Vacas valley. Walked for about 8 miles... views were amazing, very beautiful but very dry everywhere. We followed the river all the way up stopping every hour or so to get out of the sun and rest. Terrain was very rocky and unforgiving and the winds were biting. We filled our water bottles from the stream just before finally reaching Pampas de Lena's at 2800m. After putting our tents up, we chilled for a bit then we had the most amazing gaucho barbeque and malbec in camp... best dinner so far by a mile. Great night... everyone buzzing and we stayed up until 9:30 to watch the stars come out... beautiful day.
5th Feb – We were up at 7:30am and had a lovely breakfast of huevos revueltos...scrambled eggs, bread porridge and honey with tea…before packing up tents and setting off for the day. Long 9 mile walk with 500m of elevation before reaching the next camp, Casa de Pedra (house of stone) at about 4:30pm. On the walk today we saw a condor gliding down the valley. It was a magical moment. Just before getting into camp we got our first view of Aconcagua. Absolutely beautiful and a little scary to be honest. Can't believe we're going to the top of that!!
This camp is pretty basic... nasty long drop toilet and not many amenities but very pretty views. Had some snacks and spent time chatting before putting the tents up together, working as a team in the wind. It's getting much colder up here! We had dinner with the gauchos tonight... amazing hardy gypsy looking fellas... very respectful to one another. Dinner was basic but good. We ate outside and it got really cold quickly. We ended up back in our tents before 9!! Early start tomorrow... breakfast at 6!
6th Feb - We woke at 5:30 this morning because we had to have the tents and approach bags packed up and ready for 6:30 for the mules to transport to base camp. Very cold and icy. We ate breakfast outside and we wrapped up in our down jackets. Porridge, tea and bread... basic but very welcome for our 1000m height gain push to base camp. But before our ascent we had to cross the freezing river... our choices were to wade through or be ferried across on the backs of the mules. We took the easy option and let the mules do the hard work. Once across, our climb began by gradually working our way up with the river on our left, stopping every hour or so to rest and take food and water. At this altitude we have to drink a minimum of 4 litres per day. As we gained height, the views of Aconcagua became more and more spectacular. The local llama-like guanacos were roaming the hillside. We stopped for 20 minutes by the stream in a sheltered spot to let the mules pass and drank mate, the local tea like beverage made from the maté plant, which is passed around from one climber to the next. An hour or so later we had a picnic lunch before our final push up to base camp, Plaza Argentina, at 4200m. We were greeted with watermelon, pizza and hot tea... amazing. This camp has a lot more amenities than the last. After our snacks, we battled with the wind to pitch our tents, a really tough job at this altitude. Plan for later is a nice dinner out of the wind and tomorrow we have a rest day before heading up to camp 1 above.
Unfortunately, the live tracking system is not working. However, check out our latest pictures (below).
And thank you all for your continued support. Zippy is having a great time."