Aconcagua Memories

Mule Train

As we made the three day trek to the 14, 000 Base Camp, my mind has been flooded with memories.

On my first trip here in 2005, I was still working and both my parents were alive. But my mom was showing the signs of moderate Alzheimer’s.

In 2008, my second trip, my world was completely different. I had taken early retirement, my Dad has passed away and my Mom was in a serious state.

Markers of life. We acknowledge our lives by those big events; and each day by little ones.

Our trek to BC was swift and fun. The temps held in the mid 80’s and the only rain was on our last night of the trek.

As we arrived at BC however, we were greeted by swirling winds and snow squalls.

Base Camp looks and feels deserted from my previous climbs. There are few stand alone tents and the atmosphere feels muted.

But our team is doing well and everyone seems to be adjusting to the altitude.

One memory of my past trips were of the mules and the muleteers. A smile came across my face the first time I saw them. A cloud of dust along with whistles and whoops announced their arrival.

Aconcagua with a clear view of the Polish Galcier
Aconcagua with a clear view of the Polish Glacier

We quickly stepped aside as the mules running in close formation, loaded with duffel bags, blue barrels, tables (yes and chairs), and white nylon bags filled with who knows what passed up by.

The muleteers, also riding mules, followed aside and behind; providing motivation that Tony Robbins would have approved except for the spurs and cracking ropes.

Today, a day designed to allow our bodies to adjust to the altitude is a busy rest day. We are transferring gear from mule duffles to packs and thinking through what we will carry to Camp 1 tomorrow and to move completely when we move to Camp 1 on Monday.

We also need to move tents, stoves, pots, fuel and food along with us to the higher camps in our packs – no more mules!

Today is a beautiful day with a few white puffy clouds overhead, Aconcagua stands guard over our shoulder -a mixture of deep red and black rocks some covered with deep snow. Last night’s snow sqaull left the neighboring mountains with a clean white snow cap.

Moving up the mountain. More memories in the making.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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One thought on “Aconcagua Memories

  1. Alan: I’m so happy for you that things are going well so far. Climb strong and climb safe. Here in SLC, the OR show has been happening this week. I was able to meet my all-time mountaineering hero, Reinhold Messner, who signed four axes for me. Lots of other climbers as well. I hope things will continue to go well with you through this climb and all the climbs to come.

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