Aconcagua: Scott & Team Tactical Retreat from Camp 1
Monday, January 17, 2022
What a crazy 36 hours! We arrived at Aconcagua Camp 1 excited for the true expedition to begin, but little did we know, the mountain had other plans. We crawled in our tents after dinner with moderate winds slapping the tent walls, but what began as moderate mountain winds soon grew into freight train roars. Gust after gust battered the tents as we scrambled to secure more guy lines and add more rocks to the anchors. What started as 40 mph gusts soon grew to 80 mph and greater! It felt as if the mountain was unhappy with our presence on its flanks. The wind was relentless all night, making the guide's job tireless as we constantly left the safety of our tent to check on the security of the others. No one slept a wink as we all constantly felt the need brace the walls of our tent as the roar of the train built high in the mountain and finally crashed angrily into our camp. As the sun rose, the wind flowed unabated but with less severity as it had throughout the night. With the light increasing we were able to survey the damage. One out of the three tents didn’t survive, but all climbers woke unscathed, albeit a little sleep deprived. Despite their experience, it was the guides whose tent was left broken and battered and who had to seek shelter in the emergency dome tent set up by our logistics company for just such an occasion. With the sun rising, the group sipped coffee with 1,000-yard stares until the caffeine kicked in and we were able to process what just happened. With a broken tent and the forecast changing for the worst, the mountain forced our hand. The guides made the tactical decision to retreat back to basecamp to regroup and pick up our spare tent we had left behind. However, this does not mean the adventure is over. We plan to rest where the air is thicker, wait out the bad weather, and continue on up the mountain in two days. Everyone is tired, but in good spirits after such a trying night on Aconcagua. Wind is what this mountain is famous for and it delivered in spades. Two nights of good sleep in basecamp will have us rested and ready to give it another go. Let’s just hope the mountain decides to let us pass.
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January 17, 2022