Wow, what a long strange journey ... since the summit! As I write this, I just cleared security and customs at the Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport after standing in place for over 5 hours. And I mean not moving. It seems that the problem was that 50 people missed their flight the previous day and staged a sit-down to protest. For some reason they were able to completely shut the airport down. My fellow passengers and I stood in mile long lines waiting for a peaceful conclusion to this drama. The local Argentines apologized on behalf of their country - a sincere gesture.
But once the squatters were removed it was the proverbial crowd surge that took place as the doors were opened. I was genuinely worried about the small children in the 3,000+ person crowd. I was able to go with the flow and soon made it through armed security who some how did not move the squatters. Clearly, I don't get it.
OK, in any event I hope to catch my flight in a hour or so which would be around 1:00AM. Ugggg
The trek from BC was equal eventful. We had Moses-style windstorms that literally covered us with the small, tiny, microscopic grit that dirt can be famous for. As I have said before about Aconcagua - I have dirt where dirt should not be...
We made to the last camp only to be informed that our "mule was lost" who was carrying our tents! OK, perhaps a bad joke since the mules showed up an hour later after we relaxed in the dirt for an hour - after an 8 hour trek from 14,000'. Actually it was fine since we were enjoying the "thick air" of the lower altitude.
Spirits were high given we had 7 of 8 summit with two (Dave and Rudy) doing the Polish Direct route. Only Dave E. did not make it but he did reach almost 5300m - a great accomplishment for the 64 year-old.
I was thrilled to make the summit given the cold and harsh conditions. It was excellent training for Everest - just what I had in mind. We had one member get frostbite on his big toe plus a finger. Pat was helicoptered out with a HAPE victim from another team. Pat will be fine according to Doctors in Mendoza. But it is a lesson to all that even a simple "walk-up" can be threatening to life or limb.
I will post more images next week but for now, please enjoy the shadow of Aconcagua at sunrise
I think I hear the call for my plane .. or maybe it is the crowd outside!!
Remember - Memories are Everything
This is Alan