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Summit day

IndependenciaAt 4 o’clock in the morning Antonio stood up, put on all his warm clothes, made breakfast, boiled water and waited for the others who were a bit slower. Finally they started their climb to the summit at about 6 o’clock. First they made the traverse and there were no difficulties at all; Antonio could have left his crampons and ice axe ‘at home’. There was some ice on the path, but they could walk normally on it, there was kind of path over it. At the end of the traverse they got the wind (and it was quite windy!) right in their faces and it became a struggle for a while. Antonio took a rest at the Refugio Independencia (6400 m) and here it was the first time he suffered from altitude sickness. He had a headache and troubles with his breath and heartbeat and that made him a little bit scared. But the American and Mexican guy were with him and they walked on after a short rest.

Along the path there was one big rock and behind this rock they were out of the wind and could take a rest once more. Because this is the only rock which you can use as a shelter against the wind, it is quite a busy place; when someone goes on another will take his place and so on. When Antonio reached the beginning of the canaleta he had no trouble with the wind anymore, but now the trouble with the loose rock started. The rocks at the canaleta are not so small; when it is busy you must watch out for big rocks coming down from above you. But that wasn’t a problem for Antonio and his mates, because there were just a few people trying to reach the summit that day. But the canaleta itself was very tough and it took them hours to reach the end of it. And when they finally reached the end, it took them only 15 minutes to reach the summit. SummitIt was 2 o’clock in the afternoon and they had made it in about 8 hours. There was a great relief and happiness and they took many pictures of the magnificent views. It was cold and windy, but that didn’t bother them anymore. After 15 minutes they went down again. They felt tired and weren’t so fast anymore. They came back at camp 2 at about 7 or 8 o’clock, made dinner and went sleeping for a long time.

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