Aconcagua Memoirs Move to Camp Nido
Aconcagua Memoirs Move to Camp Nido – a journal account of our move to high camp 2, 5380m high. Another tough day and serious words needed with myself to keep Mindset on point.
Today we moved up to high camp 2.
I woke with a feeling of trepidation again after the previous days efforts doing a gear drop and getting caught in a snow storm on the descent.
I had packed my rucksack and was carrying the tent while banjo carried the stove. 20kg of weight in a tightly packed rucksack and I looked up at the mountain to where we were headed.
Staying in the Moment.
It was easy to project ahead into the struggle that would no doubt ensue above but I brought myself back to the now and we set up trudging up the snow on the long traverse across the mountain side.
Once we got up to a plateau after around 2.5 hours of ascending we took off our packs and rested for a while.
I had a bag of trail mix to nibble on. A piece of rock hard nougat, a few chocolate covered nuts and that was me full up. Crazy really how altitude affects appetite. The outlay of energy is massive and yet, hunger barely enters your consciousness.
From the plateaux we made a decision to go right this time along the easier looking, but longer route and to hopefully avoid the knee deep snow we had encountered before which made progress so agonisingly snow and physically exhausting.
The sky was blue and the sun shone. The white of the snow was dazzlingly bright and goggles were essential.
Altitude Induced “Trippy Maaaaan”
My green mirrored goggles played with my vision a little as we trudged higher. There were shades of pink and ultraviolet in my peripheral vision while I focused on Georges heels in front of me.
I was starting to feel dizzy again on top of the usual pounding head, heavy breathing and significant fatigue.
The dizziness was made worse if I was to look up anywhere from directly in front of me and to the ground.
I could see the mast of the ranger station in the distance and it looked so far away. It felt like we would never get there.
I remember looking to the mountainside to my right and looking up at the steep snowy gradient – wondering what the chances of avalanche were in this section. “Cant think about that now” I said to myself.
Keep on Keeping on.
I wanted to lie down and sleep. At times I felt like I might pass out. Each time I entertained these ideas I had a strong word with myself and carried on – staring down at the footsteps of George.
After what seemed like an eternity we made it. Exhausted. The ascent had taken us 4.5hours and now we needed to establish camp on the snow. We dug into the snow for rocks to tie our tents down to and went about setting up the tents in our altered states.
As soon as the tents were up it was inflatable matt sorted, get into sleeping bag and warm up.
That afternoon Banjo and I shared sliced salami, cheese and crackers. We laughed like children because it tasted so good. So good in fact that I was in tears at one point briefly. Go figure! The salty taste igniting our taste buds that had been ravaged by the altitude. We savored every mouthful and wished we had brought more with us. It was soon gone and I fell into a restless sleep trying to get comfortable on the lumpy snow.
I wrote this that evening in my journal:-
“It’s the simple things.”
I’ve been sharing a tent with a man I barely know,
Often cramped for space, but having the best time,
It’s the simple things,
Fresh water to drink,
Stories to share,
A biscuit handed to you,
Wet wipes that aren’t frozen,
The incredibly delicious taste of crackers, cheese and salami,
Someone to pass you a lighter,
So that you don’t have to reach into altitude induced breathlessness,
Music In the ears, while outside gales howl,
1mm of material, to keep you dry,
A simple foam matt to keep frozen ground away,
The feel of a thick down sleeping bag,
When temperatures outside try their best to freeze you dead,
A photo or text from a loved one,
Straightens out the head when feeling alone,
This mountain life is a great teacher,
The simple things.