Earthquake rocks Aconcagua — MM group safe and sound
Our final group on Aconcagua, which includes three guides and nine team menbers, is now moving up to Camp 1 on the mountain. We spoke with MM guide Gaspar Navarette yesterday about the expedition and he reports all is well. But, the night of the earthquake that hit off the coast of Chile was not without its moments of confusion and doubt. Gaspar reported that the whole camp awoke from their sleep to the earth shaking and the sounds of rockfall nearby. With a full moon it was easy to see where large slides had come down, one which took out the water line to their digs at Camp Confluencia.
(all photos from previous expeditions)
At the trailhead. Pablo Puruncajas photo
Fortunately the camp location was far away from the hazards and so the resulting chaos was thankfully short-lived; Gaspar reported people from other expeditions running around camp confused and wondering what to do. But, once the dust settled and people realized they were out of harm’s way things returned to normal.
Acclimatization hike to south face, which is rumored to have large rock/snow slides come down during the earthquake. Pablo Puruncajas photo
Meanwhile, MM guide Ossy Freire, who was in Mendoza in a hotel, had a differnt story to tell. He was literally shaken out of his bed by the quake, but he and all other hotel clients also escaped without harm. We’re thankful our team remained safe through this disaster and saddened by the loss in Chile by those not so fortunate.
Hike in to base camp. Pablo Puruncajas photo
And with news from Ossy for the group about the state of things in Chile, such significant calamity gave the team reason for pause and uncertainty as to whether to proceed. Would there chance to climb be halted? In the end, based on the conditions on the ground, we decided to continue with the expedition.
Base Camp. Pablo Puruncajas photo
Yesterday, March 3rd, Gaspar reported the group was in good spirits and excited to be moving ahead with the trip. In the ensuing days, they will be positioning themselves for the summit push, sometime around March 10 – 11. Stay tuned!