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Aconcagua: Cifelli & Team Ponder the World at Camp 2

Today was a “rest day,” which in Spanish apparently means “do your chores, pack your bag, unpack your bag, repack your bag, go for a hike up a steep hill and move rocks back and forth until you can hardly breathe.” And at 18,000 feet, just putting your shoes on can leave you breathless.

We did find some time for relaxation, however, with euchre, naps, confessions of past dating catastrophes, exchanging pro tips, and the best views we’ve had yet.

We also practiced making our camp look like we’re on a proper expedition rather than having a yard sale.

And we continued working on our hand tans.

Most importantly, we had time to ponder the important questions we’ve been debating over the last couple of days:

Why do mountain guides value a Coke more than the Hope diamond?  And why do they carry only one trekking pole while we all carry two? What do they know that we don’t? And why won’t they tell us.

How much stuff can you squeeze into your sleeping bag at night so it doesn’t freeze?

How can 10 Brazilians take up so much space?

What did the Russian climber do with the other Russian climber’s body that night?

Do blue bags come in other colors … or would that be confusing? And why don’t they have scatalogical humor printed on them so you’d have something to read at night?

How can I get rid of all my extra food so I don’t have to carry it up … and then down … the rest of the mountain?

And why do they call this camp TWO, even though the sign says camp THREE and it’s actually our FIFTH camp?

In any event, as much as we miss the daily comforts of home, there is something liberating about simplifying your life down to the contents of a single backpack - a bed that packs down into a cubic foot, one pair of shoes (as uncomfortable as these mountain boots are), a single bowl, a single spoon, one shirt, one pair of pants and in many cases a single pair of underwear. No decisions about what to eat for dinner. No traffic. No TV. No politics. Just endless, unparalleled views and good company. Liberating.

Wish us luck.

RMI Guide Dominc Cifelli and Team


Postscript: What do you call a mountain guide without a girlfriend?


Comments (2)

Hey, incredible team! We’re so proud of you for taking on this monumental challenge. Remember, few people dare to chase their goals with such determination, but you are doing just that.

As you conquer Aconcagua, know that you’re not just climbing a mountain – you’re proving to yourselves and to the world that dreams are worth chasing!

Keep pushing forward, and know that we’re cheering you on every step of the way!

-Sandra & Marion Champlain (Ben’s cousin & auntie)

Posted by: Sandra Champlain on

That is a hilarious joke. “Homeless.”

Posted by: Ed DaPra on

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