Carrying loads to Nido de Condores

Matt got up early and left at around 8:00. It’s really windy … everything is blowing away! I laid down the stove pad and in a second it was gone. Our packs are now about 45-50 pounds. We caught up with Matt, in the afternoon. We melted some snow for water, but the stove isn’t working too well. We heard today that one of the REI climbers from the US died after summating yesterday. He was 34 and a lawyer.

Carry to Nido de Condores
There are many climbers hauling equipment to Nido de Condores today. The name means nest of the Condors and is around 18,000′ in altitude. The trail was in great condition. It’s going to be hot today, I left camp in lightweight underwear and T-shirt with a windbreaker. The slope flattens out a bit before rising quickly to Nido. Old campsites and trash litter the flat area. Despite that, the area is beautiful and the surrounding mountains are gorgeous. There are some great rocks that would be fun to boulder on. We spent around an hour at Nido before heading down. We saw Matt moving slowly upwards. He looked really beat. I took tons of photos on the way down. It’s such a great place with all the snow and rocks. I’m so glad it snowed. First, because it guarantees good water, secondly, because it’s easier to climb in and lastly because it’s just plain beautiful! I got back to camp in 35 minutes and stripped down to shorts and T-shirt. This is crazy weather for 16,800′. Tomorrow we move up to the next camp, much of our stuff is already up there, and things are progressing well. We need four-five more days to be able to summit on schedule.

Nido de Condores
We got here quick and looked for a place to set up the tent. There are quite a few people and a ton of trash. Some other Americans were camped off to the side. We thought we would join them. We approached the site and the woman stood up and said that they moved over here to get away from everyone. I agreed that there was a lot of trash and a large crowd. She added that she didn’t want anyone camping near them including us.

We were all really shocked by her attitude. Altitude does funny things to people I guess. We moved around a large boulder and out of sight.

We leveled off a platform, feeling the effects of the altitude at 18,100′. We carried and sorted food bags and the gear that will go up to the Berlin hut. Tomorrow’s carry is about three hours we heard. I think we should make a carry if possible. All in all, the carries on Aconcagua are cake compared to the long days on Mt. McKinley. I was worried we weren’t working hard enough to get in shape for summit day. The next couple of days will be really important and I hope the weather holds out. So far it’s been perfect.

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