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Establishing the camps

5th day, to camp 1 (4980 m) and back

Through the penitentesThere was ice on our tents when we woke up at 7 o’clock. At first we sorted out our luggage, because of the changed plans. We put everything that we would leave in the base camp in a garbage bag and this bag was quite heavy, so we thought that the new plan was a good idea. After eating breakfast and boiling a lot of water, we packed our backpacks with food we needed on the mountain and with clothes we didn’t need in the base camp. At 9:45 am we started walking and it was a beautiful but strenuous walk. We made a lot of pictures on the way, so we didn’t go very fast.

After an hour we crossed the river and walked at the right side of it. The last part of the climb to camp 1 was the hardest. First there was a zigzag-path on the moraine and after that there were the penitentes, which took us about half an hour. You have to take big steps in the penitentes and that is quite hard at that height. In camp 1 we filled our duffels with our stuff and left it behind under some rocks on the slopes beneath the campsite. Other people had put their things at some camp-places, but when someone wants to put his tent there, he can put that stuff away, because putting a tent there is more important than just putting your stuff. On the way back we took the shortcut down the screeslope and this time we took the other side of the river. That seemed to be a shorter route than on our way up. The penitentes were slippery on the way down. Back in base camp we again had to boil much water before we could eat dinner (water for tea, water for soup, water for the food and water for the night). We also sorted out some things and used earplugs while sleeping, because of the noise of the wind and the neighbors.

6th day, to camp 1 (4980 m) and back

Camp 1Again awake at 7 o’clock and going up at 9:45 am. This time we carried fuel (5 liter) and some clothes and stuff like crampons, ice axe. This time we took the left side of the river, but it was quite hard to walk. Because this was the second time we went up, we walked better and faster than the day before, just because our bodies got used to the height and the circumstances. We reached camp 1 about one hour earlier than the day before and put our stuff with the other things in the duffels. This time we were back in base camp at 4:30 pm. There we ate soup first to supply our water level. We asked in the big tent of Daniel Lopez if we could leave one duffel behind with things we didn’t need on the mountain. No problem they said. After that we went to the doctor in the camp for a medical check and everything was okay, so we could go up the next day. We also asked for the weather the coming days and they were not sure of it. They thought that the weather would be good until Friday (it was Tuesday when we asked) and after Friday it would become bad weather. We decided not to cook for ourselves but ‘going out’ for dinner. We had a very good meal of spaghetti and bread in the big tent of Daniel Lopez.

7th day, to camp 1 (4980 m)

This time we stood up at 6 o’clock and it was quite cold outside. We put all the things we would left behind in a duffel and left it at Daniel Lopez’ place. We also left our walking boots behind and went up on our plastic boots. Antonio walked in front of Otto and Marja, because he was faster and so he could try to get 2 good spots for our tents in camp 1 (he also carried a part of our tent). He started at 8:30 am, Otto and Marja started 15 minutes later. This time we took the right side of the river again and although this was the third time we went up, it was quite heavy again. We ate a lot of cookies and chocolate and that gave us some energy. Finally Otto and Marja arrived in camp 1 at 1:30 pm and Antonio had found 2 good spots for our tents. After having a few cups of soup we sorted out the things that we could bring towards camp 2 this afternoon, like food and crampons, ice axe, rope, etc. At 2:45 pm we all went up again and our backpacks were quite heavy. We had to walk along quite a steep path. After two hours of walking we left our stuff behind in one duffel at the crossing of 2 paths, at a height of 5250 m and walked down with our empty backpacks …. that felt a lot better. In the evening it got quite windy and after the sun went behind the mountains (around 7 o’clock) it got also quite cold so going out for a pee that night was not much fun.

8th day, to col camp (5450 m)

Col CampThat night Otto made the decision that he hadn’t have much fun for the last two weeks and that he wouldn’t go any further. So we had a discussion with the 3 of us and Marja decided to stay with Otto. Antonio, who was strong enough, wanted to go to the top. Finally we decided that Otto and Marja would help Antonio to get to col camp (5450 m) by carrying stuff for him. After that they would go down while Antonio would stay the night at col camp and would go to camp 2 (5900 m) the day after and try to summit the day after that. So he could be back in base camp at Sunday-afternoon. Otto and Marja would stay in camp 1 after carrying the things for Antonio and go down to base camp the day after and wait until Sunday for Antonio. So we agreed, so we did it and at about 12 o’clock we went up to col camp.  Antonio took some food (for 9 days, which was the maximum time he had) out of the duffel, which still laid at the crossing and we went on to col camp. Antonio borrowed Marja’s down jacket and warm gloves, because he hadn’t that himself. After putting up Antonio’s tent it was time to say goodbye and that was a strange and emotional moment.

We agreed to have walkie-talkie contact at 6 o’clock and 8 o’clock this evening and 8 o’clock the next morning and after that every 2 hours until we couldn’t reach each other anymore. Otto and Marja went down again and brought the stuff in the duffel with them and were the whole day in doubt if their decision was a good one or not. Antonio went up again in the late afternoon bringing some stuff up to 5600 m, which was quite a heavy trip. At 6 o’clock there was no walkie-talkie contact, but at 8 o’clock Otto and Marja saw Antonio standing on a rock at the col and Antonio said through the walkie-talkie that he had made depot and that he felt good at the moment.

9th day, to camp 2 (5900 m)

Camp 2The next morning at 8 o’clock there was walkie-talkie contact again and Antonio told Otto en Marja that he felt a bit lonely last night and this morning. He was the only person at col camp, all the others passed by col camp without sleeping there. Antonio made breakfast and went up with all his stuff, up to camp 2 at a height of 5900 m. At 10 o’clock there was radio-contact for the last time and at that time he had just started his climb up to camp 2. This time it was quite a hard walk for Antonio too; he had to slow down a bit. In the afternoon he reached camp 2, put up his tent and went back to pick up the things he had left at about 5600 m the day before. In the late afternoon he made a stroll through camp 2 to find some people he could join to the summit in the night. He found an American and a Mexican guy and they arranged to get up at 4 o’clock in the early morning.

 

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