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Back in Mendoza

Late, late yesterday we came back to Mendoza after a long trek from Plaza de Mulas base camp. From high camp we took the normal route down to base camp, took approx four hours. It was sandy and some parts were pretty steep. It was nice to take another way down, but I am glad that we took the other route up, less people and more beautiful!

On base camp we had some juice, I was hoping for some fruits, maybe a green apple, we got that on the other base camp, but no:-(. We had some quesadilla and some beers in the meal tent, actually nice to sit on a real chair! But suddenly all the guys where gone and it was just Karen and I left with the guides. Where did they go??! It appeared that they went to the bar, we joined them - a cosy place!;-)

The guys decided to roll out their thermarest in the meal tent, the ladies- Karen and I decided to sleep one last night in our lovely tent! (better than to listen to the snoring..)

The day after (Tuesday) we organize our gear for the mules and start our 29k trek out of the park. The guys from South Africa took the helicopter because one of them was really bad after summiting. I haven't yet tell, but we were six of ten who made it to the summit. Two of the six were really bad because of the altitude. One guy we had to rope down and it was also he who went with the helicopter. But he is now fine, drinking Beer!:-) Both Karen and I made it to the summit smiling - at least we did afterwards! But it took time, 11 hours totally. It is a average of 30% who makes it to the summit every year and now we are one of them, feels great!

However the trek back to Penitentes was dusty and now when we all wear our normal trekking shoes we got all the blisters, can hardly walk today! The surprise of Tuesday was the sausage that we bought on Kastrup's airport. We carried it up to high camp and down, just to have it there close to the river and it tasted- marvelous!

Back in Penitentes we met the guys from South Africa, they had got a day room and we could use their shower- just heaven! We took our time and suddenly the mules were all there! We had to hurry because we wanted to head back to Mendoza straight away.

In Mendoza we have to stay on another hotel because the other hotel is under water- what does that mean??! We arrived midnight. A very nice apartment - huge. But none of us could sleep well and it took hours before falling into sleep. Do we already miss the tent? Maybe I should put out my thermarest and sleeping bag next to the bed?

Now we will have some lazy days in Mendoza, some shopping, wine, good food- so hungry. But as Karen said- we haven't eat properly for two weeks! But I won't eat any hamburger cheese (don't even like it), bars, banana chips for at least one year- or until next expedition! Because you always wants to go higher...

Now I have to go, try to change my flight ticket to go earlier to Uruguay and tonight we have the celebration dinner and finally I can change those shorts to a dress- longing for that!:-)

Kramis
Helene


We made it!

After a struggle unlike no other we made it to the summit of Aconcagua!
After 7,5 hour we finally reached the top of South America.

Sunshine, an amazing view and a Spork in my pocket. This has been the hardest thing I have ever done. But we did it!

Now, theres only the long way down..

Summit Morning

The headlamps lights our way up meanwhile the morning is growing.

Summit Day

Helene and Karen on their way.

Spork On Summit

What does the purple Spork on the summit of Aconcagua? We just gave birth to the purple one and he is everywhere!!!

Karen And Helene Summit

Helene and Karen on the summit of Aconcagua.

Neil On The Summit

My team mate Neil on the summit with his Valentine Spork!


High camp and cold as...

High Camp

After 3 hours tough climb we are now at high camp 6000 m (19500ft)! The wind is really blowing hard and it is so cold here!! None in the team has been able to sleep last night because of the hard wind.

Sometimes I am ofcourse wondering what I am doing here??? Why am I not on a sunny beach??? After some more thinking I realize that it is not that strange that I am here- I am Helene. :-)

But all together the climb today went very well. It is magic! Strange feeling that we are getting so close to the summit now.. I am here and I am happy!:-)
Tomorrow is THE BIG DAY!! We will try for the summit. The weather forecast tells that the conditions will be better tomorrow.. The plan is that we will start 6.30 in the morning. The choice not to start earlier is to avoid moving in the dark to long since it cold. But on the other hand we also want to avoid walking in the afternoon since that is when the wind usually increases. We count on that it will take about 7 hours to reach the summmit and 2,5 hours to get back down again.
Bye for now and look forward to tell you the rest.

To High Camp
On our way to high camp.

Rest day on 4 square meters

Still on camp 3 and today we had a whole day to rest. This in the meaning of spending the whole day in a 4 square meter big tent.

Outside the wind is nasty and we prefer playing cards, reading and playing drinking games with water in our cosy tent. To play drinking games with water is a perfect way to fill up the body with liquid for the climb up to high camp tomorrow.
Talk to you soon again! Good night!

Medical test and carry up to camp 1

I passed the medical test! :-) We all did! Yesterday was a lazy day, today was not. Today we carried up to camp 1, my pack had a weight of 21kg and I felt I was alive. I am not surprised if I am 10 cm shorter when I come home! It took approx five hours to go up and 1 1/2 down. I can assure you that all thoughts were not happy thoughts but now I have forgotten all about that! My new Everest boots worked out perfect, I didn´t have any time to try them out at home and I was a little bit worried- but they were just perfect!

When we came down some cheese and sausage were waiting for us- yummy! Think wild. Eat civilied! :-) Now I am waiting for my turn to get a shower for $20, will be wonderful!!!


Chocolate, nuts and a stolen orange...

One step forward and two steps back. One step forward and two back. But that is nothing when "fika" is the award for getting to todays destination camp 2 . "Fika" is a very Swedish habit that people can´t live without. It is just a plain break for coffee and something to go with it :-) Like chocolate and nuts as today. And why not a small, wrinkled and scared little orange that somehow jumped into my bag somewhere. The "fika" was ofcourse eaten and drunk from the MealKit.

I wish I could show you all some pictures from here but I have right now technical challenges with that as you can understand. I will ofcourse present pictures when it is possible. It is SO beautiful here!! It is definitely worth the pain.

Tomorrow we will start to move up to camp 3 at 5943 m (9500ft) height. The air  starts to get thinner and at camp 3 we will have a day of rest. We all agree that our legs need it. ..


Valentines day and forst night at camp 1

We have now slept one night at camp 1 which is on 4700 m height. This after a fairly ruff day carrying our load up to camp 2 on 5425 m height. In between the steps, sweat and pain I looked up at the top of Aconcagua and thought-is this really possible? Are we really going up there? But the next second, when I was looking at the fantastic view and thinking about the summit- those thoughts was blown away with the strong wind that hit Aconcagua this day. Thoughts about how beautiful it is here constantly gives me a smile. My guides actually asked me today if there is something wrong with me - smiling that much in the middle of all pain? :-)
Today it is Valentines day. What can show love better than giving all the team members a Spork? :-) And some "Gott och Blandat" which is an irresistible nice mix of Swedish candies! But I have to admit - a bit disappointed - no kisses.

Base camp, 4200 meters

My Mule

Lovely mule with my yellow bag!

After three days we arrived ysterday to bascamp, Plaza de Argentina 4200 meters. We did 1000 height meters and you feel that in your head. It should take 7-8 hours, it tok 6 hours. We woke up 05:30 or I woke up 05:00- needed that bathroom. Tried to think of something else but ofcourse it didn´t work out. I tried to crawl out from the tent as graciously as possible not to wake Karen up- ofcourse it didn´t work out. And probably she was already awake because I earlier tried to steal her pillow.. Well, out of the tent I met several of the others from the team and it was sooo bright- like someone turned a 100 watt lamp on- but it was just the moon. My thoughts of just sneak around the tent didn´t work out at all.

At 7 we all there done and started to walk. First thing was to cross the river and I am not talking about 1-2 meters!!! It was surley 80-100 meters wide and you went up and down in the water. After a few seconds it felt that I needed to throw up- it was that cold.

Walk, talk, eat some snacks and silence from the mountains. It is a beautiful life.

At camp we had a nice dinner, burgers and some red wine. After that sip of wine the headache was all gone. :-)

Today we have a rest day at camp. I woke up from the sound of the helicopter who landed just beside our tent- also a way to wake up! We had a nice breakfast with pancakes and some caramel stuff on- yummy! It is nothing wrong with our appertize!

Today we will visit the doctor who will control that everything is ok with us. Ofcoure I dreamt that they sent me home. Hopefully the dream will not come true! My stomach is fine, my cold could be worse. It is just my eyes which are very red and irriteted, but no worries!!:-)

Here on basecamp you have shower, internet, you can buy cola and beer- a great luxury!! Now my 15 min of Internet is finished! Talk to you soon! And sorry for all miss spelling - it is very hard to writte on this tiny computer!!!

Smiles Helene

 

Map Aconcagua


Another day in Mendoza

Another day in Mendoza! We slept long, crazy how much you can sleep! Met the guides and the group. We are 10 people and 3 guides. Had our gear check, I had to buy some stuff- things that isn't easy to find in winter time in Malmö, like sandals for the river crossing! And it was not that easy to find it in Mendoza either! Crazy because this is really an outdoor city but the assortment of the outdoor gear isn't great!

The result of the day was a lot of shopping, got some medicin for my stupied cold which isn't better yet..starting to get a little bit nervous for that..

Tomorrow we will get the permits and head to los Penitentes and on Wednesday we start the approach! And remember no news are good news!


Arriving in Mendoza

Now I am in Mendoza, after 28h travelling. When I met my friend Karen on the hotel who took the flight from Santiago earlier than me, I realized how dirty I was. The shower was beautiful! After that we went out for a walk and something to drink. It is sooo warm. Nice and sweaty!

Now I need to get to bed and recover from my stupid cold that I got the other day! Tomorrow we'll meet the guides and the whole group! Looking forward to it!!


The time has come...

Now it is just a couple of hours before departure!! More or less everything is packed, bought, done. Aconcagua here I come! Aconcagua the highest peak in South America, the second highest peak of the seven summits, I am indeed excited to go!
When I booked this trip which I did rather late my mother Marianne didn't jump of hapiness. She asked ofcourse why am I doing this. It is simply, the only thing you can do is walk, eat and sleep. Your body is tired and you don't need to think. It is a pure beeing. Yesterday my grandmother told med that if she would been younger she would have done the same trip, she is 86 years old!

The last couple of weeks have been crazy and Wednesday night I arrived back home to Malmö from ISPO Munich there Light My Fire exhibit. And yes, I work at Light My Fire as a Coordinator of Fire and Product Development and yes, you can be sure I'll bring the Spork.:-)
Aconcagua has been a goal for several years, I love the beauty of the mountains, the view, the freedom..
The expedition is led by Mike Hamill from International Mountains guides, we are a group of 9-10 people and three guides. We will trek a new route, the False polish Guanacos Variation route. I will try my best to update the Blogg, I have an Iridium satallite phone, an Axcess point, a Power monkey extrem to be able to get power to all the devices.
Below you can find the itinerary, we will take the False Polish Guanacos Variation Route.
4/2 15:40 flying from Copenhagen to Madrid. 00:10 departure to Santiago there i change plans and continue to Mendoza.
5/2 In lovely Mendoza.
6/2 Meet the group and all the guides.
7/2 Early departure to Los Penetentes. Pack.
8/2 Drive to Punta del Vacas there we will start the trek. 
9/2 Continue approach march.
10/2 Base camp, Guanacos valley, 3962 meters (13.000ft).
11/2 Rest.
12/2 Carry camp I,4419 meters (14500ft).
13/2 Move to camp I.
14/2 Carry to camp II, 5425m (17800ft) Ameghino col and traverse to the Guanacos Helicopter camp.
15/2 Move to camp II.
16/2 Carry to camp III/high camp, (Peidras blancas) 5943m (9500ft)
7/2 rest i camp II.
18/2 Move to high camp, ca 6000m. (19500ft)
19-21/2 Potential summit days 6962m
22/2 Normal route to base camp, Placa de Mulas base camp.
23/2 From base camp to Penitentes.
24/2 Drive from Penitentes to Mendoza.
26/2 Flying to Montevideo for some holiday from the holiday! :-)
3/3   Flying home.
4/3   Arriving home to Malmö.
Now I need to finish that packing and eat that Swedish chocolate cake that Sofie has been baking! Yummy!!!
kram Helene:-)