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Mountain Madness Climber

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!